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1.  Control of hyperglycaemia in paediatric intensive care (CHiP): study protocol 
BMC Pediatrics  2010;10:5.
There is increasing evidence that tight blood glucose (BG) control improves outcomes in critically ill adults. Children show similar hyperglycaemic responses to surgery or critical illness. However it is not known whether tight control will benefit children given maturational differences and different disease spectrum.
The study is an randomised open trial with two parallel groups to assess whether, for children undergoing intensive care in the UK aged ≤ 16 years who are ventilated, have an arterial line in-situ and are receiving vasoactive support following injury, major surgery or in association with critical illness in whom it is anticipated such treatment will be required to continue for at least 12 hours, tight control will increase the numbers of days alive and free of mechanical ventilation at 30 days, and lead to improvement in a range of complications associated with intensive care treatment and be cost effective.
Children in the tight control group will receive insulin by intravenous infusion titrated to maintain BG between 4 and 7.0 mmol/l. Children in the control group will be treated according to a standard current approach to BG management.
Children will be followed up to determine vital status and healthcare resources usage between discharge and 12 months post-randomisation. Information regarding overall health status, global neurological outcome, attention and behavioural status will be sought from a subgroup with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A difference of 2 days in the number of ventilator-free days within the first 30 days post-randomisation is considered clinically important. Conservatively assuming a standard deviation of a week across both trial arms, a type I error of 1% (2-sided test), and allowing for non-compliance, a total sample size of 1000 patients would have 90% power to detect this difference. To detect effect differences between cardiac and non-cardiac patients, a target sample size of 1500 is required. An economic evaluation will assess whether the costs of achieving tight BG control are justified by subsequent reductions in hospitalisation costs.
The relevance of tight glycaemic control in this population needs to be assessed formally before being accepted into standard practice.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN61735247
PMCID: PMC2830203  PMID: 20137090
2.  Methods of data collection and analysis for the economic evaluation alongside a national, multi-centre trial in the UK: Conventional ventilation or ECMO for Severe Adult Respiratory Failure (CESAR) 
Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is a technology used in treatment of patients with severe but potentially reversible respiratory failure. A multi-centre randomised controlled trial (CESAR) was funded in the UK to compare care including ECMO with conventional intensive care management. The protocol and funding for the CESAR trial included plans for economic data collection and analysis. Given the high cost of treatment, ECMO is considered an expensive technology for many funding systems. However, conventional treatment for severe respiratory failure is also one of the more costly forms of care in any health system.
The objectives of the economic evaluation are to compare the costs of a policy of referral for ECMO with those of conventional treatment; to assess cost-effectiveness and the cost-utility at 6 months follow-up; and to assess the cost-utility over a predicted lifetime. Resources used by patients in the trial are identified. Resource use data are collected from clinical report forms and through follow up interviews with patients. Unit costs of hospital intensive care resources are based on parallel research on cost functions in UK NHS intensive care units. Other unit costs are based on published NHS tariffs. Cost effectiveness analysis uses the outcome: survival without severe disability. Cost utility analysis is based on quality adjusted life years gained based on the Euroqol EQ-5D at 6 months. Sensitivity analysis is planned to vary assumptions about transport costs and method of costing intensive care. Uncertainty will also be expressed in analysis of individual patient data. Probabilities of cost effectiveness given different funding thresholds will be estimated.
In our view it is important to record our methods in detail and present them before publication of the results of the trial so that a record of detail not normally found in the final trial reports can be made available in the public domain.
Trial Registrations
The CESAR trial registration number is ISRCTN47279827.
PMCID: PMC2387150  PMID: 18447931
3.  CESAR: conventional ventilatory support vs extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for severe adult respiratory failure 
An estimated 350 adults develop severe, but potentially reversible respiratory failure in the UK annually. Current management uses intermittent positive pressure ventilation, but barotrauma, volutrauma and oxygen toxicity can prevent lung recovery. An alternative treatment, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, uses cardio-pulmonary bypass technology to temporarily provide gas exchange, allowing ventilator settings to be reduced. While extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is proven to result in improved outcome when compared to conventional ventilation in neonates with severe respiratory failure, there is currently no good evidence from randomised controlled trials to compare these managements for important clinical outcomes in adults, although evidence from case series is promising.
The aim of the randomised controlled trial of Conventional ventilatory support vs extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for severe adult respiratory failure (CESAR) is to assess whether, for patients with severe, but potentially reversible, respiratory failure, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation will increase the rate of survival without severe disability ('confined to bed' and 'unable to wash or dress') by six months post-randomisation, and be cost effective from the viewpoints of the NHS and society, compared to conventional ventilatory support. Following assent from a relative, adults (18–65 years) with severe, but potentially reversible, respiratory failure (Murray score ≥ 3.0 or hypercapnea with pH < 7.2) will be randomised for consideration of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester or continuing conventional care in a centre providing a high standard of conventional treatment. The central randomisation service will minimise by type of conventional treatment centre, age, duration of high pressure ventilation, hypoxia/hypercapnea, diagnosis and number of organs failed, to ensure balance in key prognostic variables. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation will not be available for patients meeting entry criteria outside the trial. 180 patients will be recruited to have 80% power to be able to detect a one third reduction in the primary outcome from 65% at 5% level of statistical significance (2-sided test). Secondary outcomes include patient morbidity and health status at 6 months.
Analysis will be based on intention to treat. A concurrent economic evaluation will also be performed to compare the costs and outcomes of both treatments.
PMCID: PMC1766357  PMID: 17187683
4.  A randomised controlled trial investigating the effect of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on cognitive and retinal function in cognitively healthy older people: the Older People And n-3 Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (OPAL) study protocol [ISRCTN72331636] 
Nutrition Journal  2006;5:20.
The number of individuals with age-related cognitive impairment is rising dramatically in the UK and globally. There is considerable interest in the general hypothesis that improving the diet of older people may slow the progression of cognitive decline. To date, there has been little attention given to the possible protective role of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPs) most commonly found in oily fish, in age-related loss of cognitive function. The main research hypothesis of this study is that an increased dietary intake of n-3 LCPs will have a positive effect on cognitive performance in older people in the UK.
To test this hypothesis, a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial will be carried out among adults aged 70–79 years in which the intervention arm will receive daily capsules containing n-3 LCP (0.5 g/day docosahexaenoic acid and 0.2 g/day eicosapentaenoic acid) while the placebo arm will receive daily capsules containing olive oil. The main outcome variable assessed at 24 months will be cognitive performance and a second major outcome variable will be retinal function. Retinal function tests are included as the retina is a specifically differentiated neural tissue and therefore represents an accessible window into the functioning of the brain.
The overall purpose of this public-health research is to help define a simple and effective dietary intervention aimed at maintaining cognitive and retinal function in later life. This will be the first trial of its kind aiming to slow the decline of cognitive and retinal function in older people by increasing daily dietary intake of n-3 LCPs. The link between cognitive ability, visual function and quality of life among older people suggests that this novel line of research may have considerable public health importance.
PMCID: PMC1564406  PMID: 16945130
6.  Involving consumers in designing, conducting, and interpreting randomised controlled trials: questionnaire survey 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2001;322(7285):519-523.
To assess the extent to which consumers are involved in the work of clinical trial coordinating centres in the United Kingdom and the nature of consumers' involvement in randomised trials coordinated by these centres.
National surveys using structured questionnaires with some open ended sections.
103 clinical trial coordinating centres in the United Kingdom identified through a database assembled in 1997 by the NHS clinical trials adviser.
Named contacts at 62 coordinating centres and investigators in 60 trials that were identified as involving consumers.
Main outcome measures
Number of coordinating centres and number of trials in which consumers were involved and the nature of consumers' involvement.
Of the 62 eligible centres, 23 reported that consumers had already been involved in their work, and most respondents were positive about this involvement. 17 centres planned to involve consumers. 15 centres had no plans to involve consumers, but only four of these considered such involvement irrelevant. Responses from investigators about the 48 individual trials were mostly positive, with respondents commenting that input from consumers had helped refine research questions, improve the quality of patient information, and make the trial more relevant to the needs of patients.
Consumer involvement in the design and conduct of controlled trials seems to be growing and seems to be welcomed by most researchers. Such involvement seems likely to improve the relevance to consumers of the questions addressed and the results obtained in controlled trials.
PMCID: PMC26555  PMID: 11230065

Results 1-6 (6)