The SIRIUS Trial Is Not a Sirius Trial
To the Editor:
Acronyms should always be capitalized to avoid confusion with common words.1 In the recent Brief Rapid Communications article by Colombo et al2 about restenosis after implantation of drug-eluting stents, the authors mentioned the SIRIUS trial, which stands for SIRolImUS-coated stent in treatment of patients with de novo coronary artery lesions.1 But in the Discussion of the article, the authors did not capitalize the acronym SIRIUS; instead, they referred to it simply as the Sirius trial.
Perhaps it was simply a typographical error. However, the fact that it appeared in uncapitalized form four times after it initially appeared in capitalized form in the Introduction made me wonder. In astronomy, Sirius is a star in the constellation Canis Major, the brightest star in the sky. Perhaps the authors subconsciously were comparing the SIRIUS trial to the star Sirius. But such a deviation from the rules issued by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors3 created a problem to the readers of your journal. How are the uninitiated readers going to know if such a word is an acronym or an ordinary word4? Witty acronyms such as ALIVE, BRILLIANT, BRITE, CURE, GUARANTEE, HOPE, IMPROVED, MIRACLE, and SAVED (for their definitions, please see Reference 1) may subtly play on the hopes or dreams of patients or investigators, thus constituting a form of coercion5 that should be discouraged in a peer-reviewed journal. These acronyms certainly should never be allowed to appear in uncapitalized forms in any manuscript.1
We appreciate the remarks of Dr Cheng regarding the need to capitalize acronyms. We also agree with the value of being precise in order not to confuse the reader. Concerning the SIRIUS trial, the remarks of Dr Cheng give us the opportunity to look at this study as a “bright star” in the world of interventional cardiology. Maybe this element is always present subconsciously in people who propose different trial names. Maybe it is also a freudian lapse in our minds, because we were so profoundly caught up by the results of this trial. We also think that when the manuscript of the SIRIUS trial is published, readers will agree that the SIRIUS trial is a Sirius trial.