The Program on Surgical Control of the Hyperlipidemias (POSCH) is an investigator-initiated NHLBI grant-funded secondary coronary heart disease intervention trial using partial ileal bypass (PIB) for lipid reduction. Randomization started in September 1975 and ended in July 1983 with enrollment of 838 participants (421 surgery, 417 controls). The trial is scheduled to reveal the atherosclerosis impact of the lipid changes in 1990, at which time the average individual in the program will have been followed for 9.6 years. Initially, the magnitude of the recruitment task was greatly underestimated. An area containing 500,000 people was judged to be sufficient to randomize one patient per month. Actually, a population of 2.4-10.5 million, depending upon proximity to a clinic, was needed to achieve this goal. The study design was changed in 1981, due to recruitment costs, with reduction of the number of individuals to be randomized from 1000 to 838 and with extension of the duration of minimum follow-up from 5 to 7 years. Only with the development of a uniform model clinic concept, with specified levels of performance calculated from actual recruitment data, did accrual of patients into the trial become predictable and achievable. Some of the recruitment delays in POSCH were related to problems, in part generic to the existent grant funding mechanism and associated with decisions made by NHLBI and its Advisory Council. These delays were manifested by denial of reallocation of approved funds to initiate replacement clinics for discontinued ones, an 18-month delay in implementation of a protocol change in lipid criteria suggested by the Data M Monitoring Committee, and a 2-year delay in the starting date for the fourth active clinic.
- Program on Surgical Control of the Hyperlipidemias
- clinical trials
- partial ileal bypass
- recruitment experience