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Obtaining informed consent from patients in the early phase of acute myocardial infarction: physicians’ experiences and attitudes
  1. A Ågård1,*,
  2. J Herlitz2,
  3. G Hermerén3
  1. 1Department of Medical Ethics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Cardiology, Sahlgrens University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden
  3. 3Department of Medical Ethics, Lund University
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Anders Ågård
    Department of Medicine, Sahlgrens University Hospital, SE-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden;

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It is possible to question whether patients suffering from the early phase of an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) are able to give free and informed consent and whether or not it is ethically defensible to include them—those patients suffering from more severe symptoms, in particular—in research projects.1 In fact, it has been shown that a reasonable number of patients who have given their consent in this situation are only able to recall very little of the information they received about the study and that only a minority read through the consent form before signing it.2–4

The aim of this study is to determine how physicians, who have been involved in including patients in intervention trials in the early phase of their AMIs, experienced the informed consent procedures. In our view, data obtained from those people who are actually confronted by the research subjects and who are responsible for carrying out the consent procedure should also be taken into account, when the most appropriate ways of including these patients in studies are discussed. To our knowledge no survey of physicians relating to this issue has previously been undertaken.


A questionnaire containing questions relating to the informed consent procedure in the context of AMI was distributed to all 1002 physicians registered as members of the Swedish Society of …

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  • * Also Department of Medicine, Sahlgrens University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden