Retrospective analysis of a South African cardiovascular trial site’s patient retention rates
Lesley J Burgess, Nicole U Sulzer
TREAD Research/Cardiology Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Tygerberg Hospital and University of Stellenbosch, Parow, South Africa
Introduction: Patient dropouts negatively affect study cost and validity of study results.
Objectives: To investigate the attrition rate and reasons for patient discontinuations at a cardiovascular trial site in South Africa.
Methods: Studies conducted over the past 10 years were randomly selected and retrospectively examined for attrition rates and reasons for patient discontinuation.
Results: A total of 50 studies with a duration ranging from 3 to 45 months were examined. A total of 1386 patients were randomized. Of these, 88.9% completed all scheduled study visits, resulting in a mean 11.1% (n = 154) attrition rate. Reasons for discontinuation included death (39.6%), withdrawal of consent (33.1%), adverse events (22.7%), and relocation (4.5%). There were no patients lost to follow-up.
Conclusion: The low attrition rate and absence of any patients lost to follow-up are the result of a dedicated retention plan in which each site staff member has a crucial role to play in keeping patients motivated and interested in participating in a clinical trial.
Keywords: clinical trials, lost to follow-up, attrition
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