Informed consent in clinical trials in critical care: experience from the PAC-Man Study
ABSTRACT To identify the proportion of critically ill patients able to consent to participation in a randomised controlled trial (RCT) and to assess to what extent patient consent and relative assent processes could be conducted according to ethics committee permission.
Descriptive study nested in an RCT.
Fifty-six UK intensive care units participating in the PAC-Man trial.
First 500 patients consecutively enrolled into PAC-Man.
The outcome measures were patient consent and/or relative assent. Of the 498 patients included, 13 (2.6%) provided consent before randomisation. Of the remaining 485 patients, relative assent was obtained for 394 patients (81.2%), and refused post-randomisation for 3 patients (0.6%). No relatives were available for 15 patients (3.1%), and it was unclear from documentation whether relative assent had been obtained for 73 patients (15.1%). Of the 482 patients who did not provide consent prior to randomisation, 188 (39%) survived. Of these, 175 (93.1%) gave retrospective informed consent, six (3.2%) refused, and seven (3.7%) did not regain mental competency.
A very small proportion of patients were able to give consent before randomisation. Due to the high in-hospital mortality (60.6%), only around one third of the remaining patients could provide consent retrospectively. This study demonstrates difficulties experienced in obtaining consent from critically ill patients to participate in medical research and raises important issues about the ethical basis of the consent process in critical care.
Canadian respiratory journal: journal of the Canadian Thoracic Society 06/2014; · 1.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Introduction Vasopressin is an alternative vasopressor in the management of septic shock. It spares catecholamine use but whether it improves outcome remains uncertain. Current evidence suggests that it may be most effective if used early and possibly in conjunction with corticosteroids. This trial will compare vasopressin to noradrenaline as initial vasopressor in the management of adult septic shock and investigate whether there is an interaction of vasopressin with corticosteroids. Methods and analysis This is a multicentre, factorial (2×2), randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. 412 patients will be recruited from multiple UK intensive care units and randomised to receive vasopressin (0–0.06 U/min) or noradrenaline (0–12 µg/min) as a continuous intravenous infusion as initial vasopressor therapy. If maximum infusion rates of this first study drug are reached, the patient will be treated with either hydrocortisone (initially 50 mg intravenous bolus six-hourly) or placebo, before additional open-label catecholamine vasopressors are prescribed. The primary outcome of the trial will be the difference in renal failure-free days between treatment groups. Secondary outcomes include need for renal replacement therapy, survival rates, other organ failures and resource utilisation. Ethics and dissemination The trial protocol and information sheets have received a favourable opinion from the Oxford A Research Ethics Committee (12/SC/0014). There is an independent Data Monitoring and Ethics Committee and independent membership of the Trial Steering Committee including patient and public involvement. The trial results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national and international scientific meetings. Trial registration number: ISRCTN 20769191 and EudraCT 2011-005363-24.BMJ Open 07/2014; 4(7):e005866. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005866 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background Organ dysfunction consequent to infection (‘severe sepsis’) is the leading cause of admission to an intensive care unit (ICU). In both animal models and early clinical studies the calcium channel sensitizer levosimendan has been demonstrated to have potentially beneficial effects on organ function. The aims of the Levosimendan for the Prevention of Acute oRgan Dysfunction in Sepsis (LeoPARDS) trial are to identify whether a 24-hour infusion of levosimendan will improve organ dysfunction in adults who have septic shock and to establish the safety profile of levosimendan in this group of patients. Methods/Design This is a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel group, placebo-controlled trial. Adults fulfilling the criteria for systemic inflammatory response syndrome due to infection, and requiring vasopressor therapy, will be eligible for inclusion in the trial. Within 24 hours of meeting these inclusion criteria, patients will be randomized in a 1:1 ratio stratified by the ICU to receive either levosimendan (0.05 to 0.2 μg.kg-1.min-1 or placebo for 24 hours in addition to standard care. The primary outcome measure is the mean Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score while in the ICU. Secondary outcomes include: central venous oxygen saturations and cardiac output; incidence and severity of renal failure using the Acute Kidney Injury Network criteria; duration of renal replacement therapy; serum bilirubin; time to liberation from mechanical ventilation; 28-day, hospital, 3 and 6 month survival; ICU and hospital length-of-stay; and days free from catecholamine therapy. Blood and urine samples will be collected on the day of inclusion, at 24 hours, and on days 4 and 6 post-inclusion for investigation of the mechanisms by which levosimendan might improve organ function. Eighty patients will have additional blood samples taken to measure levels of levosimendan and its active metabolites OR-1896 and OR-1855. A total of 516 patients will be recruited from approximately 25 ICUs in the United Kingdom. Discussion This trial will test the efficacy of levosimendan to reduce acute organ dysfunction in adult patients who have septic shock and evaluate its biological mechanisms of action. Trial registration Current controlled trials ISRCTN12776039 (19 September 2013)Trials 06/2014; 15(1):199. DOI:10.1186/1745-6215-15-199 · 2.12 Impact Factor