Anesthesia journal retracts paper from Estonian researchers in wake of legal inquiry

Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica has retracted a 2008 paper by a group of Estonian researchers who appear to have wound up in legal jeopardy for misrepresenting their work.

Here’s the notice:

Retraction: The following article ‘Spinal 2-chloroprocaine: effective dose for ambulatory surgery’ by A. Sell, T. Tein and M. Pitkänen in Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica 2008; 52: 695-699, and first published online on 15 April 2008 in Wiley Online Library (, has been retracted at the request of the Tartu University Hospital and the Estonian State Agency of Medicines by agreement with the journal Editor in Chief, Lars S Rasmussen and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. The retraction has been agreed following the conclusion of an investigation conducted by the Estonian legal authorities. The study was not approved as required according to Estonian law and the study design was misrepresented in the article.

The paper has been cited 11 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The study is described as being a randomized controlled trial in which:

Sixty-four ASA physical status I-III patients undergoing elective lower limb surgery were randomly allocated to one of the four local anaesthetic groups for spinal anaesthesia in a double-blind manner. The patients (n=16 patients in each group) received 35, 40, 45 or 50 mg of 10 mg/ml isobaric 2-CP.

Rasmussen declined to discuss the nature of the problems with us, but he did confirm that Pitkänen was a member of his journal’s editorial board when the paper was published and still is.

We have tried to reach Pitkänen but haven’t heard back. We’ll update this post if we learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.