How Outcomes Are Defined in Clinical Trials of Mechanically Ventilated Adults and Children

Bronagh Blackwood, Mike Clarke, Danny F. McAuley, Peter J. McGuigan, John C. Marshall, Louise Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
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Systematic reviews have considerable potential to provide evidence-based data to aid clinical decision-making. However, there is growing recognition that trials involving mechanical ventilation lack consistency in the definition and measurement of ventilation outcomes, creating difficulties in combining data for meta-analyses. To address the inconsistency in outcome definitions, international standards for trial registration and clinical trial protocols published recommendations, effectively setting the “gold standard” for reporting trial outcomes. In this Critical Care Perspective, we review the problems resulting from inconsistent outcome definitions and inconsistent reporting of outcomes (outcome sets). We present data highlighting the variability of the most commonly reported ventilation outcome definitions. Ventilation outcomes reported in trials over the last 6 years typically fall into four domains: measures of ventilator dependence; adverse outcomes; mortality; and resource use. We highlight the need, first, for agreement on outcome definitions and, second, for a minimum core outcome set for trials involving mechanical ventilation. A minimum core outcome set would not restrict trialists from measuring additional outcomes, but would overcome problems of variability in outcome selection, measurement, and reporting, thereby enhancing comparisons across trials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-893
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number8
Early online date10 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2014

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