Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie,
MD, PhD, Senior Editor.
To the Editor: In their study of magnesium
sulfate given for neuroprotection before preterm birth, Dr Crowther and colleagues1 concluded that "combined death or substantial gross
motor dysfunction was significantly reduced in the magnesium group." Although
composite outcomes can compensate for the low frequency of several individual
outcomes, they are thus heterogeneous and sometimes difficult to interpret.
We therefore question the definition and usefulness of this composite outcome.
The individual components of these composite outcomes are vastly different
from one another and do not share the same economical, social, or clinical
value. Thus, it is difficult for clinicians to know how to counsel patients
about the benefit(s) of this intervention.
Ananth CV, Vintzileos AM. Magnesium Sulfate for Preterm Neuroprotection. JAMA. 2004;291(8):940-941. doi:10.1001/jama.291.8.940-b