Endpoint adjudication in cardiovascular clinical trials Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract Endpoint adjudication (EA) is a common feature of contemporary randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in cardiovascular medicine. Endpoint adjudication refers to a process wherein a group of expert reviewers, known as the clinical endpoint committee (CEC), verify potential endpoints identified by site investigators. Events that are determined by the CEC to meet pre-specified trial definitions are then utilized for analysis. The rationale behind the use of EA is that it may lessen the potential misclassification of clinical events, thereby reducing statistical noise and bias. However, it has been questioned whether this is universally true, especially given that EA significantly increases the time, effort, and resources required to conduct a trial. Herein, we compare the summary estimates obtained using adjudicated vs. non-adjudicated site designated endpoints in major cardiovascular RCTs in which both were reported. Based on these data, we lay out a framework to determine which trials may warrant EA and where it may be redundant. The value of EA is likely greater when cardiovascular trials have nuanced primary endpoints, endpoint definitions that align poorly with practice, sub-optimal data completeness, greater operator variability, and lack of blinding. EA may not be needed if the primary endpoint is all-cause death or all-cause hospitalization. In contrast, EA is likely merited for more nuanced endpoints such as myocardial infarction, bleeding, worsening heart failure as an outpatient, unstable angina, or transient ischaemic attack. A risk-based approach to adjudication can potentially allow compromise between costs and accuracy. This would involve adjudication of a small proportion of events, with further adjudication done if inconsistencies are detected.


  • Khan, Muhammad Shahzeb
  • Usman, Muhammad Shariq
  • Van Spall, Harriette
  • Greene, Stephen J
  • Baqal, Omar
  • Felker, Gary Michael
  • Bhatt, Deepak L
  • Januzzi, James L
  • Butler, Javed

publication date

  • December 7, 2023