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Curr Opin Crit Care. 2015 Oct;21(5):439-44. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000232.

Progress on core outcome sets for critical care research.

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aCentre for Infection and Immunity, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland bLi Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto cDepartment of Critical Care Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre dLawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto eProvincial Centre of Weaning Excellence, Toronto East General Hospital, Toronto, Canada.



Appropriate selection and definition of outcome measures are essential for clinical trials to be maximally informative. Core outcome sets (an agreed, standardized collection of outcomes measured and reported in all trials for a specific clinical area) were developed due to established inconsistencies in trial outcome selection. This review discusses the rationale for, and methods of, core outcome set development, as well as current initiatives in critical care.


Recent systematic reviews of reported outcomes and measurement instruments relevant to the critically ill highlight inconsistencies in outcome selection, definition, and measurement, thus establishing the need for core outcome sets. Current critical care initiatives include development of core outcome sets for trials aimed at reducing mechanical ventilation duration; rehabilitation following critical illness; long-term outcomes in acute respiratory failure; and epidemic and pandemic studies of severe acute respiratory infection.


Development and utilization of core outcome sets for studies relevant to the critically ill is in its infancy compared to other specialties. Notwithstanding, core outcome set development frameworks and guidelines are available, several sets are in various stages of development, and there is strong support from international investigator-led collaborations including the International Forum for Acute Care Trialists.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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