Researchers “disappointed” that influential study was not retracted

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 08 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6063
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1The BMJ

Researchers have described as “disappointing” a journal’s decision not to retract a paper that they said was skewing the results of meta-analyses and had made guidelines on protecting the heart of patients undergoing surgery unreliable and dangerous.

Graham Cole and Darrel Francis, of Imperial College London, called for the New England Journal of Medicine to retract a research paper by Don Poldermans on the use of β blockers to reduce the risk of myocardial infarction in patients having high risk surgery1 after they published an analysis of the research in The BMJ on 29 August this year.2

Poldermans, a prominent professor of perioperative cardiovascular care at Rotterdam’s Erasmus Medical Centre, was suspended from his post in 2010 after a junior researcher raised concerns about studies he had led for 10 years, called the Dutch Echocardiographic Cardiac Risk Evaluation Applying Stress Echo (DECREASE) studies. In 2011 Poldermans was dismissed for “serious violations of scientific integrity” in his research and found guilty of research misconduct, although this was not specific to the DECREASE I study,3 on which Cole and Francis have focused.

The DECREASE I study, which included 112 patients, found that the β blocker bisoprolol reduced the …

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