Adjudication of cardiovascular events in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: SUMMIT trial

Clin Trials. 2020 Aug;17(4):430-436. doi: 10.1177/1740774520920897. Epub 2020 May 22.


Background: Adjudicated cause-specific mortality has been used in major trials of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, there is less experience with adjudicated major adverse cardiovascular events as a key efficacy outcome in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease trials. The Study to Understand Mortality and Morbidity in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease trial required a Clinical Endpoint Committee to adjudicate the outcomes of modified major adverse cardiovascular events and cause-specific mortality.

Methods and results: A six-member Clinical Endpoint Committee reviewed adverse event and serious adverse event reports included in a list of 204 Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities terms. Adverse events were triaged by one Clinical Endpoint Committee member, and then reviewed by three reviewers (round 1). If these three disagreed on the adjudication, the event was discussed by the full committee to reach a consensus (round 2). Among 16,485 participants, 48,105 adverse events were reported, among which 3314 were reviewed by the Clinical Endpoint Committee. After triage, 1827 were adjudicated in round 1; 338 required committee consensus in round 2, yielding 450 myocardial infarctions, strokes, unstable anginas or transient ischaemic attacks. Only 20/1627 (1%) non-serious adverse events were adjudicated as cardiovascular events. Only 45/204 Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities terms reviewed yielded cardiovascular events. A total of 430 deaths were adjudicated in round 1 and 631 in round 2, yielding 459 cardiovascular deaths. Adjudication of chest pain and sudden death often required additional information from site investigators. Site assessment of cardiovascular death was moderately specific (501/602 = 83%) but not sensitive (256/459 = 56%).

Conclusion: A Clinical Endpoint Committee is useful for adjudication of major adverse cardiovascular events in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease trials but requires considerable resources and effort by investigators. This process can be streamlined by reviewing only serious adverse events and filtering by selected Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities terms.

Trial registration: NCT01313676.

Keywords: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease mortality; major adverse cardiovascular event adjudication; myocardial infarction; stroke; unstable angina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Androstadienes / adverse effects
  • Angina, Unstable / epidemiology
  • Benzyl Alcohols / adverse effects
  • Bronchodilator Agents / adverse effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Chlorobenzenes / adverse effects
  • Clinical Trials Data Monitoring Committees*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / mortality*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology


  • Androstadienes
  • Benzyl Alcohols
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Chlorobenzenes
  • Drug Combinations
  • vilanterol
  • fluticasone furoate

Associated data