Author + information
- David J. Moliterno, MD, Editor-in-Chief, JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions∗ ()
- ↵∗Address for correspondence:
Dr. David J. Moliterno, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Kentucky, 900 S. Limestone Avenue, 329 Wethington Building, Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0200.
Hopefully you have noticed in the letters-to-the-editor section of the journal that we have some letters with the heading “Research Correspondence.” Through the years, JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions (and its sister journals) has published a limited number of research-related letters, and in recent months, the editors have further discussed what an ideal paper in this category should be. Like any journal, among the editors’ goals is to publish the highest quality papers that are of the greatest value to its readers. For each biweekly issue, we have dedicated page space to print 6 to 9 original research papers, corresponding editorials, and 2 to 3 image cases. During this same interval, we receive roughly 100 submissions collectively into the categories of Original Research Papers, State-of-the-Art Papers, Images in Interventions, Editorials, Viewpoints, and Letters to the Editor (including Research Correspondence).
So, what describes a paper that would be considered a research correspondence? We believe the research correspondence or research letter should contain sufficiently important information about which the readers should be aware, but there is not enough data or impact to fulfill the goals of a full-length manuscript. As compared with full-length original research papers (which are to have a word count <4,500), research correspondences are meant to be brief (800 words or less including references [which should be 5 or fewer] and include only 1 table or figure). Publications in this category often have a single point of limited current or new impact. Good examples would include pilot data regarding a new drug or new device; a potential new application of an established drug or device; a limited-size first-in-man report; and possibly a focused analysis from an administrative dataset or a meaningfully updated meta-analysis. Ultimately, the essential message within the research correspondence should be distilled into 1 key figure (or table).
As an example, in a prior issue of the journal, Vaduganathan et al. (1) reported their single-center experience of cangrelor use among 38 patients with cardiogenic shock. This is the largest reported real-world usage of cangrelor among patients with shock, a cohort that was excluded from prior clinical trials. The limitations of the study are many given its small-size, single-center, observational nature, though the report’s merit is unarguable. The investigators present their experience among patients receiving the higher dose of cangrelor as tested in the CHAMPION (Cangrelor versus Standard Therapy to Achieve Optimal Management of Platelet Inhibition) trials and the lower dose as tested in the BRIDGE (Maintenance of Platelet Inhibition With Cangrelor After Discontinuation of Thienopyridines in Patients Undergoing Surgery) study. Likewise, the use among patients with recent cardiac arrest and/or requiring mechanical circulatory support as well as bridging to cardiac and noncardiac surgery is mentioned. Does this paper clearly establish the safety and efficacy of cangrelor in cardiogenic shock? No, but the information and experience is of great value to share with readers. As another example, in the current issue, Kofler et al. (2) assessed the prognostic impact of baseline values of high-sensitivity troponin (hs-Tn) on 30-day and long-term (median 434 days) mortality among 883 consecutive patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement at 2 European centers. The day before transcatheter aortic valve replacement, 681 patients had hs-Tn measured with 1 specific assay with an upper reference limit (99th percentile of normal) of 14 ng/l. Patients were separated into 2 groups according to pre-procedural hs-Tn above or below 35 ng/l, and multiple variables were assessed for an association with mortality, which occurred among 24% of patients at long-term follow-up. Using regression analysis, the investigators found that baseline hs-Tn independently predicted mortality and provided incremental prognostic information to the established STS (Society of Thoracic Surgeons) score. Can this study establish the impact or causality of baseline hs-Tn on mortality among transcatheter aortic valve replacement patients or can it be used to guide treatment? No, but it highlights the possible role of baseline hs-Tn as a novel predictor to be added to already established predictors of outcome for future studies.
So, what should a research correspondence not be? It should not be a case report or even a small case series unless the topic or application is remarkably novel or highly unique. Of course, it is nice to see submissions that include more study subjects or patients than the number of authors. It should not be a simple dredging of an administrative database that yields confirmatory information or knowledge that has already been reasonably established from prospective studies. Hopefully, a research correspondence will not be an “n + 1 meta-analysis” that provides little refinement of odds ratios or marginally narrower confidence intervals than the last meta-analysis recently published. And, and as with other Letters to the Editor, these papers are not meant to be cited as proof or definitive evidence of the topic at hand, but to provide valued input for our scientific conversation—correspondence.
- 2017 American College of Cardiology Foundation
- Vaduganathan M.,
- Qamar A.,
- Badreldin H.A.,
- Faxon D.P.,
- Bhatt D.L.
- Kofler M.,
- Reinstadler S.J.,
- Stastny L.,
- et al.