Editorial  |   February 2020
Negative Trials, and What to Do with Them?: First, Stop Calling Them “Negative”
Author Notes
  • From the Department of Outcomes Research, Anesthesiology Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Accepted for publication October 14, 2019. Published online first on December 11, 2019.
    Accepted for publication October 14, 2019. Published online first on December 11, 2019.×
  • Address correspondence to Dr. Sessler: DS@OR.org
Article Information
Editorial / Cardiovascular Anesthesia / Critical Care / Infectious Disease / Pain Medicine / Pharmacology
Editorial   |   February 2020
Negative Trials, and What to Do with Them?: First, Stop Calling Them “Negative”
Anesthesiology 2 2020, Vol.132, 221-224. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000003046
Anesthesiology 2 2020, Vol.132, 221-224. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000003046
Most clinical trials are designed to compare two or more interventions or approaches. Given two or more common approaches to a clinical problem, one is presumably often superior to the other(s). It should then be relatively easy to formally compare various clinical approaches and identify the best. In fact, it has not been easy and many trials report similar outcomes with each tested intervention. Trials that demonstrate that primary results are similar with experimental and reference interventions are often referred to as being “negative”—but that is a suboptimal designation because it encompasses two major causes for results being similar (assuming competent design that limits various sources of bias, missing data, and measurement error).