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Editorials |

Not a Matter of Life and Death!

Waldemar G. Johanson, Jr., MD, MPH, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Newark, NJ 
 ,  Professor and Chairman, Department of Medicine, New Jersey Medical School.

Correspondence to: Waldemar G. Johanson, Jr., MD, MPH, FCCP, Department of Medicine, MSB 1506, New Jersey Medical School, 185 South Orange Avenue, Newark, NJ 07103-2714



Chest. 1999;115(4):916-917. doi:10.1378/chest.115.4.916
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Extract

No one can doubt the importance of a new biomedical treatment that reduces mortality from some specified, highly lethal condition, and such discoveries are greeted with appropriate enthusiasm. Conversely, if a reduction in mortality is not demonstrated following the application of a new treatment or diagnostic technique, the newcomer is perceived to be of suspect value or is rejected out of hand. Mortality has great appeal as an outcome; it is readily measured, there is general agreement as to its presence or absence, and once an outcome is ascertained, subjects do not cross over to another category or group. On the other hand, mortality is applicable to only a limited range of treatments and conditions, at least within the usual periods of observation, and researchers have always used other end points to demonstrate benefit or the lack of it.


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