Author + information
- Ulrich Sigwart, MD⁎ ()
- ↵⁎University of Geneva, Cardiology, 1, Avenue de Miremont, Geneva CH-1206, Switzerland
The term “acronym” has been used since World War II. It refers to an abbreviation created from the first letters of each word in a series of words. Typical examples are NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and SOS (Save our Souls).
Acronyms are frequently being used to refer to clinical trials, often with some difficulty. Occasionally even the PI (Primary Investigator) cannot remember the background of such abbreviations.
In 1995 we embarked in a clinical trial comparing 2 treatment options for myocardial revascularization, the use of stents versus surgery. We simply called the trial SoS (Stent or Surgery) (1). The results of this trial have been published in leading journals, and the study is still ongoing.
In the March 27, 2009, issue of the Journal(2), another SOS trial was published. The authors decided to use the same, previously employed acronym to describe a comparison of different stents for the treatment of saphenous vein grafts. The acronym SOS stands in this context for “a randomized controlled trial of a paclitaxel-eluting stent versus a similar bare-metal stent in saphenous vein graft lesions: the SOS (Stenting of Saphenous vein grafts trial);” the association, apart from the infringement with previous and future SOS publications, seems far-fetched.
Even in the absence of legal guidelines, the reutilization of established acronyms (in particular, if they are still in use) should be discouraged. Authors and editors ought to adopt some common sense to avoid confusion.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation