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Am J Emerg Med. 2013 Jan;31(1):231-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2012.06.003. Epub 2012 Aug 4.

Randomized trials in emergency medicine journals, 2008 to 2011.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Christiana Care Hospital, Newark, DE 19718, USA.



Knowledge of current areas of activity in emergency medicine research may improve collaboration among investigators and may help inform decisions about future research priorities. Randomized, controlled trials are a key component of research activity and an essential tool for improving care. We investigated the characteristics of randomized trials recently published in emergency medicine journals.


This was a retrospective analysis of randomized trials published in the 5 highest impact emergency medicine journals. PubMed was searched for reports of randomized trials involving human subjects indexed to MEDLINE between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2011. Included trials were classified with respect to study topic, funding source, presence of age-related inclusion criteria, and country of origin.


A total of 163 published studies were included for analysis. Pain management was the most commonly studied topic (n = 28, or 17%) followed by orthopedics (n = 24, or 15%), cardiovascular disease (n = 13, or 8%), and prehospital medicine (n = 13, or 8%). Less than half of studies received extramural funding support. Children were specifically examined in 22 (13%) of trials; only 5 trials (3%) specifically examined patients aged 60 or older.


Emergency medicine journals publish randomized trials addressing a wide range of clinical topics. Randomized trials focusing on geriatric patients are not commonly published in these journals.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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