The informed consent process and the use of the exception to informed consent in the clinical trial of diaspirin cross-linked hemoglobin (DCLHb) in severe traumatic hemorrhagic shock. DCLHb Traumatic Hemorrhagic Shock study group
UNLABELLED In the clinical trial of diaspirin cross-linked hemoglobin (DCLHb), optimal therapy required the immediate enrollment of patients with severe, uncompensated, traumatic hemorrhagic shock. When it was not feasible to obtain prospective consent, an exception to informed consent was used according to FDA regulation 21 CFR 50.24. OBJECTIVES To examine the informed consent process and the use of the consent
exception and consent to continue (CTC), and to describe the patients for whom this process was used. METHODS This was a multicenter, randomized, controlled, single-blinded efficacy trial of DCLHb as an adjunct to standard therapy in the treatment of severe, traumatic hemorrhagic shock. Patients with unstable vital signs or a critical base deficit were treated, with a primary study endpoint of 28-day mortality. RESULTS During the 11-month study period, 112 patients were randomized in 18 U.S. trauma centers, and data from 98 of the infused patients were analyzed. Prospective consent was obtained from two patients, three family members, and one legally authorized representative (LAR) (6%). Consent to continue was requested for 89 patients (89%), and full participation was granted for 87 of these patients (98%). Consent to continue was provided by 54 (98%) of the 55 patients approached. The mean number of days for family/LAR CTC was 1.1 +/-3.8 days, and 50% of the time it was obtained on the day of study enrollment. Patient CTC was obtained in an average of 13 +/- 23 days, with a median of four days. Patients treated in this protocol were more likely to have sustained penetrating trauma than the overall trauma patient population treated in these trauma centers (44% vs 21%, p = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS Informed consent in this study of an emergent therapy most often involved the use of the consent exception and consent to continue, the latter of which occurred in a timely manner. Nearly all of those who were approached for CTC approved full participation in the study, suggesting acceptance of the process outlined in the new regulations. Patients treated in a hemorrhagic shock clinical trial may differ from the general trauma patient population.