Intensive care unit patients' opinion on enrollment in clinical research: A multicenter survey

Flavia Julie do Amaral Pfeilsticker, Carolina Aguiar Sant Anna Siqueri, Niklas Soderberg Campos, Fernanda Guimarães Aguiar, Maria Laura Romagnoli, Renato Carneiro de Freitas Chaves, Carolina Scoqui Guimarães, Adriano José Pereira, Ricardo Luiz Cordioli, Ary Serpa Neto, Murillo Santucci Cesar Assuncão, Thiago Domingos Corrêa

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BACKGROUND: In most emergency situations or severe illness, patients are unable to consent for clinical trial enrollment. In such circumstances, the decision about whether to participate in a scientific study or not is made by a legally designated representative. OBJECTIVE: To address the willingness of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) to be enrolled in a scientific study as volunteers, and to assess the agreement between patients' and their legal representatives' opinion concerning enrollment in a scientific study. METHODS: This survey was conducted in two hospitals in São Paulo, Brazil. Patients (≥18 years) with preserved cognitive functions accompanied by a surrogate admitted to the ICU were eligible for this study. A survey containing 28 questions for patients and 8 questions for surrogates was applied within the first 48h from ICU admission. The survey for patients comprised three sections: demographic characteristics, opinion about participation in clinical research and knowledge about the importance of research. The survey for legal representatives contained two sections: demographic characteristics and assessment of legal representatives' opinion in authorizing patients to be enrolled in research. RESULTS: Between January 2017 and May 2018, 208 pairs of ICU patients and their respective legal representatives answered the survey. Out of 208 ICU patients answering the survey, 73.6% (153/208) were willing to be enrolled in the study as volunteers. Of those patients, 65.1% (97/149) would continue participating in a research even if their legal representative did not support their enrollment. Agreement between patients' and surrogates' opinion concerning participation was poor [Kappa = 0.11 (IC95% -0.02 to 0.25)]. If a consent for study participation had been obtained, 69.1% (103/149) of patients would continue participating in the study until its conclusion, and 23.5% (35/149) would allow researchers to use data collected to date, but would withdraw from the study on that occasion. CONCLUSION: The majority of patients admitted to the ICU were willing to be enrolled in a scientific study as volunteers, also after a deferred informed consent procedure has been used. Nevertheless, contradictory opinions between patients and their and their legal representatives' concerning enrollment in a scientific study were often observed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0236675
Number of pages12
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

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