This story described the results of a recent study which found that more intense treatment of acute kidney injury resulted in neither improved nor worsened outcomes. The story provided factual information about the study. It also indicated that there could be cost savings to the health care system if additional treatment which failed to provide benefit was avoided.
However, the story failed to tell readers:
There was not explicit information in this story about costs to the individual undergoing care, though one could surmise that less intense treatment would cost less. The story included estimates of the impact from the results of the study on costs to the health care system.
The story did mention that the two approaches to treating acute kidney injury did not have different outcomes and specifically mentioned death rates, recovery of kidney function and rates of other organ failure. The story also mentioned a death rate in one health care system of 50-80% from acute kidney injury.
The story explained that "There was no difference in death rates in both groups, and both also had similar rates of recovering kidney function and other organ failure."
But the story did not provide a clear picture of the view from patient perspective about how the two treatment approaches differed.
The story explained explicitly that the results discussed came from a large, multicenter, randomized clinical trial. It mentioned where the results of the study discussed were going to be published.
The story would have been more helpful if it had included a few words indicating the strength of the study design.
The story did not engage in overt disease mongering.
There is no evidence that the newspaper interviewed anyone for this story. The perspectives of the study’s lead author and of the editorial writer both appear to be gleaned directly from the New England Journal of Medicine.
The story would have been improved by including comments from interviews with clinicians about what this information means to people who may need to deal with acute kidney injury in the future.
The story sketched out two modes of treatment for acute kidney injury which did not appear to differ from one another in terms of outcomes. It was not clear from the story whether one represented standard care or not. In addition, there was no discussion of whether there are choices to be made by patients who experience acute kidney injury.
It is not clear from this story whether both intensities of treatment are in general use and if not, which represented usual care. In addition, treatment of kidney injury is complicated and it was not clear from this story how an individual would weigh in about treatment preference.
It was not clear from the story whether both approaches to treating acute kidney injury were currently in use; are there regional differences; or whether there were other factors affecting the type of treatment a patient with acute kidney injury would receive.
We can’t be sure if the story relied solely or largely on a news release.