Heart researcher who faked patient data gets 4th retraction

XLargeThumb.00004872-201512000-00000.CVA heart researcher who fabricated patient records for her studies on the blood pressure medication ramipril has earned her fourth retraction, and more are apparently on the way.

For readers who are new to this case: Things first unraveled for Anna Ahimastos when a subanalysis of a JAMA clinical trial revealed “anomalies,” triggering an investigation. After Ahimastos admitted to fabricating patient data, that JAMA paper and two others — including a small trial in Annals of Internal Medicine — were pulled. A spokesperson for her former employer, Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute, told us last week that they have requested more retractions:

Five papers and one letter are in the process of being retracted.

The Annals and this latest paper are included in the five papers, so we expect to see another three papers and one letter by Ahimastos pulled from the literature.

This latest retraction is for “Reduced arterial stiffness may contribute to angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor induced improvements in walking time in peripheral arterial disease patients,” which suggested — like the other pulled papers — that ramipril could increase how long patients with artery disease can walk. Here’s the retraction note, from the Journal of Hypertension:

The following authors, Drs A. M. Dart, A. Lawler, P. A. Blombery, Prof. B. A. Kingwell, have requested retraction of a paper by A. A. Ahimastos et al. An investigation by the Research Conduct Office of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute found irregularities in a study, including fabrication of patient records and misrepresentation of results, from which this article was derived. On the basis of this investigation the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute strongly supports retraction and points out the co-authors asking for retraction were found not be [sic] involved in the research misconduct. The article is retracted.

The paper has been cited 25 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

When the allegations of misconduct against Ahimastos first appeared, they garnered some attention in the news in Australia.

We’ve reached out to Ahimastos a couple times, and haven’t received a reply. Baker IDI told us they don’t know where she is.

Like Retraction Watch? Consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, and sign up on our homepage for an email every time there’s a new post. Click here to review our Comments Policy.

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.