Reporting approval by research ethics committees and subjects' consent in human resuscitation research

C M Olson, K A Jobe
Resuscitation 1996, 31 (3): 255-63

OBJECTIVE: To determine how frequently reports of research in human cardiopulmonary resuscitation mention approval by a research ethics committee and address subjects' consent.

METHODS: Retrospective review of published reports of interventional research in human cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Reports were retrieved from the MEDLINE database and selected according to pre-established criteria. Data were abstracted independently by the two authors with differences resolved by mutual agreement. Results were analyzed according to whether the research took place in the prehospital setting, the emergency department, or the hospital; whether it was conducted within or outside the United States; whether it received any funding from the US government; its randomization scheme; the year of publication; and whether the journal's instructions required mention of REC approval or subjects' consent.

RESULTS: Reports of 47 studies met our criteria for inclusion. Of these, 24 (51%) mentioned approval by a research ethics committee and 12 (26%) addressed subjects' consent. Significantly more studies reported ethics committee approval or addressed consent during more recent years. Authors were more likely to report consent, REC approval, or both when journal instructions required that REC approval be mentioned.

CONCLUSION: Reports of resuscitation research have not consistently mentioned approval from a research ethics committee or addressed subjects' consent for interventional studies using human subjects. However, they are doing so more frequently in recent years as journal requirements for reporting change. REC approval is now almost always being reported, but subjects' consent is often not addressed. Journal editors and reviewers should ensure that authors adhere to the journal's instructions about reporting ethical conduct of experiments.


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