The European Heart Journal has issued an expression of concern for a
2014 2001 paper by Don Poldermans, the Dutch heart researcher who stepped down from his post at Erasmus University after being accused of misconduct.
The article, “Bisoprolol reduces cardiac death and myocardial infarction in high-risk patients as long as 2 years after successful major vascular surgery,” appeared in July and reported data from the DECREASE trial. Poldermans, who left Erasmus in 2011, has acknowledged failing to receive informed consent from some patients in one phase of the DECREASE study but denied having fabricated results.
According to the notice:
The first author of this paper has been discharged from Erasmus University because of allegations of scientific misconduct. The Investigative Committee of Academic Integrity of Erasmus University looked into possible breaches of academic integrity.
They published their assessement of the DECREASE trial on July 25, 2014 (http://www.erasmusmc.nl/1172194/2014/4771610) and concluded: “With regard to the conduct of the DECREASE-1 study, the written documentation of the research process is largely lacking. … There were wide differences in the memories of those involved regarding the way in which outcomes had been determined … Similar to the first author … (Dr Poldermans), the last author claimed that these determinations were made in accordance with the stipulations defined in the protocol … The members of the adverse event committee cannot confirm this. “Regarding the decision to prematurely terminate the DECREASE-1 …, the Committee finds that this decision was not taken by the safety committee, as suggested in the publication …, but by the 3 members of the executive board of the steering committee ….” “On the basis of these findings, the Committee is unable to confirm or dispel doubts about neither the care with which the DECREASE-1 study was conducted – and thus about the study’s integrity – nor about the reliability of its results.”
The editors of the European Heart Journal therefore decided to place an expression of concern related to this paper to inform their readers appropriately.
The paper has been cited 125 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.