Harms and adverse events (untoward side effects of surgery or medicine) have been under-reported or poorly described at an alarming low rate by the publishing authors in the four leading otolaryngology medical journals, according to new research presented at the 2008 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) annual meeting & OTO EXPO, in Chicago, IL.

The research, titled Harm and Adverse Events in Otolaryngology Journals, was authored by Haidy A. Bibawy, MD (presenter); Anne Cossu; Sophia Kogan, MD; Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, MPH.

In a review of 1,835 articles from the four journals, at separate points of time (1996 and 2006), researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, determined that nearly a third (31%) of clinical research articles contained no mention of adverse or harm events, while more than half (53%) failed to explicitly describe these events. Furthermore, more than 76% of the articles in question failed to describe the methodology in collecting adverse event date.

The authors say the information is significant because of the increasing role that harms and adverse events have played in medical decision-making. Harms often serve as the pre-eminent issues that arise in making guideline recommendations.

The authors note that because these results mirror those found in other medical fields, there is a widespread need for improvement within the medical community at large in reporting harms and adverse events.

[Source: Science Daily]