On second thought: Transplant paper retracted for researcher error

When a group from Saint Louis University published a case report in Pediatric Transplantation on a baby with an unusual infection after kidney transplant surgery, they thought they’d stumbled on a first. At the time they wrote:

[Acalculous candidal cholecystitis] caused by Candida is an uncommon entity usually seen in the critically ill. Here, we present the case of an 18-month-old renal transplant patient who developed candidal AAC during the post-operative period. Previous articles have addressed acalculous cholecystitis secondary to a variety of causes, or addressed a wide variety of Candida infections in the biliary tract, but this is the first discussion of cholecystitis caused by Candida without confounding factors such as biliary calculi or multiple pathogens. After the discussion of our patient’s case, we also reviewed the English-language literature regarding candidal AAC and discussed diagnosis, treatment, and mortality.

A year later, however, the group is walking back their article. A retraction notice in the journal states that:

The following article from Pediatric Transplantation “Acalculous Candidal Cholecystitis after Pediatric Renal Transplant” by Grosser J, Solomon H, Sotelo-Avila C, published online on 14 MAR 2010 in Wiley Online Library (http://www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com), has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor in Chief, Richard Fine, and John Wiley & Sons A/S. The retraction has been agreed due to mistakes in recording the immunosuppression regimen, omission of the anti-fungal agents used in the treatment and failure to record the patient’s prolonged hospitalization due to intra-abdominal infection. As a result, the recommendations of no systemic antifungal therapy as part of a treatment regime based on this case report are wrong and are not supported.

The paper has yet to be cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Jennifer Grosser, who is listed as the first author (erroneously, she said), referred us to the paper’s second author, Harvey Solomon. We have tried unsuccessfully to reach him for comment.

Kate Perry, a Wiley editor who worked on the retraction notice, said the journal was contacted by Saint Louis University about a potential problem with and investigation of Dr. Solomon’s work. The authors

were all fully in agreement with issuing a retraction. It has been a relatively uncontroversial process from our side.

Gary Peterson, acting chair of surgery at Saint Louis University, confirmed Perry’s account, and described the issues with the article as

 a difference of opinion as to management of the patient.

Peterson said none of the investigators had received and administrative sanctions in the event, and that this article was the only one under scrutiny.

Hat tip: Clare Francis

0 thoughts on “On second thought: Transplant paper retracted for researcher error”

  1. I haven’t read the article in question, but just from the information provided here, I can say that it is absolutely wrong to base any kind of treatment recommendation on a single case report, much less put that recommendation in writing.

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