Retraction: Darsee JR, Heymsfield SB, Nutter DO. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and human leukocyte antigen linkage: differentiation of two forms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. N Engl J Med 1979; 300:877-82.
N Engl J Med 1983; 308:1400June 9, 1983DOI: 10.1056/NEJM198306093082307
To the Editor: In response to the announcement by Harvard University that John R. Darsee, M.D., had fabricated research data while serving as a research fellow in their school of medicine, we initiated an extensive investigation by both internal and external committees of Dr. Darsee's work at Emory University. This letter concerns a publication in the Journal that was authored by Dr. Darsee (Darsee JR, Heymsfield SB, Nutter DO. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and human leukocyte antigen linkage: differentiation of two forms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. N Engl J Med 1979; 300:877-82).
The evidence available for review by our investigating committees consisted of incomplete laboratory records and clinical records, and this material failed to sustain the results and conclusions presented in the article. This general observation is supported by the following specific points: (1) Patients with Coronary Artery disease were included in the proband group despite the disclaimer in the Methods section of the paper. (2) We cannot find laboratory reports for the 70 matched controls. (3) The diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy cannot be confirmed from the hospital records of at least six of the probands. One of these individuals is the proband for the family reported in Figure 3 of the paper. (4) The reported correlations between laboratory and clinical data cannot be confirmed. The paper reports that 11 of 12 white probands who were B12 antigen-negative had hypertension. The hospital records indicate that at least six were normotensive. The paper reports that only 3 of 33 black probands positive for the B5 antigen complex had hypertension. The hospital records indicate that at least 10 of these patients were hypertensive. (5) Nine family pedigrees were either published in the article or were contained in the NAPS document. However, laboratory data are available for only 21 of the 86 members of these families. Most distressing is the fact that no laboratory data are available for the largest family (Fig. 1 in the Journal article), and data for the proband of this family are not included in the NAPS listing of 22 white probands. The proband for the family presented in Figure 2 is described as being hypertensive, but this cannot be confirmed from the hospital record. Finally, as previously noted the hospital record does not confirm the diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the proband of Figure 3, and furthermore this patient is described as being normotensive, but the hospital record indicates the presence of hypertensive cardiovascular disease.
In view of this information we believe that the paper must be considered invalid and should be retracted.
We apologize to you and the Journal for any embarrassment or inconvenience that may result from our investigation of Dr. Darsee's research activities and publications.
Donald O. Nutter, M.D.
Professor of Medicine (Cardiology)
Steven B. Heymsfield, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
James F. Glenn, M.D.
Dean, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322
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