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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

First retraction appears in case of cardiologist Poldermans

with 2 comments

EBPOM_00219_M3Don Poldermans, the cardiology researcher in the Netherlands whose prominent career came to disgrace in a rather confusing scandal, finally has a retraction.

Poldermans, formerly of Erasmus Medical Center, copped to charges of misconduct but not of fraud in the case — which, if you speak Dutch, you can read about in detail here.

As we wrote in 2012:

That’s not merely a distinction without a difference. Poldermans, for instance, claims that the suspect gaps in his data records, which Erasmus MC calls “serious shortcomings” in fact reflect losses due to water damage and files the university itself trashed.

Three of Poldermans’ papers — but not the retracted piece — had been the subject of expressions of concern.

The article retracted last month, “Baseline plasma N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide is associated with the extent of stress-induced myocardial ischemia during dobutamine stress echocardiography,” had appeared in 2006 in Coronary Artery Disease. It has been cited five times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the abstract, which is still available on Medline:

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the relationship between baseline plasma N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels and the presence and extent of myocardial ischemia during dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE).

METHODS:

NT-proBNP was measured in 170 consecutive patients prior to DSE. Rest wall motion abnormalities (RWMAs) and new wall motion abnormalities (NWMAs) were scored using a 5-point, 17-segment model. Kruskal-Wallis tests were applied to study differences in NT-proBNP levels between patients with normal DSE, RWMAs but no NWMAs, and NWMAs, and (in patients with NWMAs) between those with 1-2, 3-4 and >4 ischemic segments. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were used to determine the value of NT-proBNP in predicting NWMAs.

RESULTS:

The median NT-proBNP level was 110 ng/l (interquartile range: 42-389 ng/l). Median NT-proBNP was 59, 321 and 440 ng/l in patients with normal DSE, with RWMAs but no NWMAs, and with NWMAs, respectively (P<0001). Among patients with NWMAs, median NT-proBNP was associated with the number of ischemic segments: 364, 710 and 2376 ng/l in patients with 1-2, 3-4 and >4 ischemic segments, respectively (P<0.001). Elevated NT-proBNP levels were significantly associated with NWMAs (odds ratio per 100 ng/l increase: 1.14, 95% confidence interval: 1.1-1.2) in a multivariate analysis of clinical baseline variables and RWMAs.

CONCLUSION:

Elevated baseline levels of NT-proBNP are associated with the presence and extent of myocardial ischemia during DSE, independent of the presence of RWMAs.

According to the retraction notice:

Feringa HH, Elhendy A, Bax JJ, Boersma E, de Jonge R, Schouten O, et al. Baseline plasma N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide is associated with the extent of stress-induced myocardial ischemia during dobutamine stress echocardiography. Coron Artery Dis 2006; 17:255–259.—A Committee established by the Board of Erasmus Medical Center, The Netherlands, that reported in September 2012, considers the reporting of the research by Feringa et al. to have been negligent and scientifically incorrect according to two criteria: the inclusion and exclusion criteria reported in the publication were not applied consistently, with the result that the patient population actually studied differs in material ways from the published description; and, there are material differences between the source documentation (the patients’ dossier), the case record form used in the study, the study database, and the publication. For this reason the article by Feringa et al. is retracted from publication.

Hat tip: Commenter SF

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2 Responses

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  1. What si the difference between “misconduct” and “fraud”? Is this an official difference. Can you be convicted of misconduct when fraud is not involved?

    Albert Gjedde

    January 8, 2014 at 9:33 am

    • A fraud is a criminal wrong: any fraud victim or governmental authorities may sue the fraud perpetrator. A misconduct (or unacceptable conduct), although being a legal term, is not a criminal offense. Yes, you can be convicted of misconduct when fraud is not involved, and RW is full of such cases. However, a “gross misconduct” may be considered as possibly criminal.
      My knowledge ends here (if a lawyer doesn’t agree, please correct me). Don’t ask me what is the difference between a “misconduct” and a “gross misconduct”.

      Sylvain Bernès

      January 8, 2014 at 11:14 am


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