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1.  Evaluating the efficacy of an integrated smoking cessation intervention for mental health patients: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:266.
Smoking rates, and associated negative health outcomes, are disproportionately high among people with mental illness compared to the general population. Smoke-free policies within mental health hospitals can positively impact on patients’ motivation and self-efficacy to address their smoking. However, without post-discharge support, preadmission smoking behaviours typically resume. This protocol describes a randomised controlled trial that aims to assess the efficacy of linking mental health inpatients to community-based smoking cessation supports upon discharge as a means of reducing smoking prevalence.
Eight hundred participants with acute mental illness will be recruited into the randomised controlled trial whilst inpatients at one of four psychiatric inpatient facilities in the state of New South Wales, Australia. After completing a baseline interview, participants will be randomly allocated to receive either: ‘Supported Care’, a multimodal smoking cessation intervention; or ‘Normal Care’, consisting of existing hospital care only. The ‘Supported Care’ intervention will consist of a brief motivational interview and a package of self-help material for abstaining from smoking whilst in hospital, and, following discharge, 16 weeks of motivational telephone-based counselling, 12 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy, and a referral to the Quitline. Data will be collected at 1, 6 and 12 months post-discharge via computer-assisted telephone interview. The primary outcomes are abstinence from smoking (7-day point prevalence and prolonged cessation), and secondary outcomes comprise daily cigarette consumption, nicotine dependence, quit attempts, and readiness to change smoking behaviour.
If shown to be effective, the study will provide evidence in support of systemic changes in the provision of smoking cessation care to patients following discharge from psychiatric inpatient facilities.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ANZTCN: ACTRN12612001042831. Date registered: 28 September 2012.
PMCID: PMC4091653  PMID: 24996596
Smoking cessation; Mental illness; Inpatient; Community; Multimodal intervention
2.  Forced diuresis with matched hydration in reducing acute kidney injury during transcatheter aortic valve implantation (Reduce-AKI): study protocol for a randomized sham-controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:262.
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is observed in up to 41% of patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) and is associated with increased risk for mortality. The aim of the present study is to evaluate whether furosemide-induced diuresis with matched isotonic intravenous hydration using the RenalGuard system reduces AKI in patients undergoing TAVI.
Reduce-AKI is a randomized sham-controlled study designed to examine the effect of an automated matched hydration system in the prevention of AKI in patients undergoing TAVI. Patients will be randomized in a 1:1 fashion to the RenalGuard system (active group) versus non-matched saline infusion (sham-controlled group). Both arms receive standard overnight saline infusion and N-acetyl cysteine before the procedure.
The Reduce-AKI trial will investigate whether the use of automated forced diuresis with matched saline infusion is an effective therapeutic tool to reduce the occurrence of AKI in patients undergoing TAVI.
Trial registration NCT01866800, 30 April 30 2013.
PMCID: PMC4086440  PMID: 24986373
3.  Mothers After Gestational Diabetes in Australia Diabetes Prevention Program (MAGDA-DPP) post-natal intervention: an update to the study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:259.
The Mothers After Gestational Diabetes in Australia Diabetes Prevention Program (MAGDA-DPP) is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that aims to assess the effectiveness of a structured diabetes prevention intervention for women who had gestational diabetes.
The original protocol was published in Trials ( This update reports on an additional exclusion criterion and change in first eligibility screening to provide greater clarity. The new exclusion criterion “surgical or medical intervention to treat obesity” has been added to the original protocol. The risks of developing diabetes will be affected by any medical or surgical intervention as its impact on obesity will alter the outcomes being assessed by MAGDA-DPP. The screening procedures have also been updated to reflect the current recruitment operation. The first eligibility screening is now taking place either during or after pregnancy, depending on recruitment strategy.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ANZCTRN 12610000338066.
PMCID: PMC4083860  PMID: 24981503
Gestational diabetes; Lifestyle intervention; Post-natal; Type 2 diabetes prevention
4.  Compliance of mothers following recommendations to breastfeed or withhold breast milk during rotavirus vaccination in North India: a randomized clinical trial 
Trials  2014;15:256.
Neutralizing antibodies in breast milk may adversely influence the immune response to live oral vaccines. Withholding breastfeeding around the time of vaccine administration has been suggested for improving vaccine performance. However, we do not know whether mothers find withholding breastfeeding around the time of vaccination acceptable and how they perceive this recommendation.
In a clinical study designed to examine predictors of poor immune response to rotavirus vaccine in infants in India, Rotarix® was administered to infants at 6 and 10 weeks with other childhood vaccines. For the study, 400 mother–infant pairs were randomized into two groups in a 1:1 ratio. Mothers were either recommended to withhold breastfeeding or were encouraged to breastfeed half an hour before and after administration of Rotarix®. The mother–infant pairs were observed and the breastfeeding intervals were recorded during this period. Mothers were administered a questionnaire about their perception of the intervention after the infants received the second dose of Rotarix®.
Almost 98% (391/400) of the infants received both doses of Rotarix®. Adherence to the recommendations was high in both groups. All mothers in the group who were asked to withhold breastfeeding did so, except one who breastfed her infant before the recommended time after the first dose of Rotarix®. Of the mothers, 4% (7/195) reported that the recommendation to withhold breastfeeding was difficult to follow. All mothers in this group reported that they would withhold breastfeeding at the time of vaccination if they were asked to by a health-care provider. Only one mother responded that withholding breastfeeding would be a reason for not giving rotavirus vaccine to her infant.
Withholding breastfeeding half an hour before and after vaccination appears to be acceptable to mothers in this setting. If withholding breastfeeding produces an improvement in the performance of the vaccine, it could be used to increase the public health impact of rotavirus immunization.
Trial registration
Clinical Trial Registry, India (CTRI/2012/10/003057), (NCT01700127).
Date of Registration: Clinical Trial Registry, India: 28 September 2012, 3 October 2012.
PMCID: PMC4082496  PMID: 24976452
rotavirus; Rotarix®; withhold breastfeeding; encourage breastfeeding; perception
5.  Corticosteroid treatment for community-acquired pneumonia - the STEP trial: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:257.
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is the third-leading infectious cause of death worldwide. The standard treatment of CAP has not changed for the past fifty years and its mortality and morbidity remain high despite adequate antimicrobial treatment. Systemic corticosteroids have anti-inflammatory effects and are therefore discussed as adjunct treatment for CAP. Available studies show controversial results, and the question about benefits and harms of adjunct corticosteroid therapy has not been conclusively resolved, particularly in the non-critical care setting.
This randomized multicenter study compares a treatment with 7 days of prednisone 50 mg with placebo in adult patients hospitalized with CAP independent of severity. Patients are screened and enrolled within the first 36 hours of presentation after written informed consent is obtained. The primary endpoint will be time to clinical stability, which is assessed every 12 hours during hospitalization. Secondary endpoints will be, among others, all-cause mortality within 30 and 180 days, ICU stay, duration of antibiotic treatment, disease activity scores, side effects and complications, value of adrenal function testing and prognostic hormonal and inflammatory biomarkers to predict outcome and treatment response to corticosteroids. Eight hundred included patients will provide an 85% power for the intention-to-treat analysis of the primary endpoint.
This largest to date double-blind placebo-controlled multicenter trial investigates the effect of adjunct glucocorticoids in 800 patients with CAP requiring hospitalization. It aims to give conclusive answers about benefits and risks of corticosteroid treatment in CAP. The inclusion of less severe CAP patients will be expected to lead to a relatively low mortality rate and survival benefit might not be shown. However, our study has adequate power for the clinically relevant endpoint of clinical stability. Due to discontinuing glucocorticoids without tapering after seven days, we limit duration of glucocorticoid exposition, which may reduce possible side effects.
Trial registration
7 September 2009 on NCT00973154.
PMCID: PMC4083867  PMID: 24974155
Corticosteroids; Community-acquired pneumonia; Pulmonary infection; Emergency medicine; Intensive care; Glucocorticoids
6.  Effectiveness of the head CT choice decision aid in parents of children with minor head trauma: study protocol for a multicenter randomized trial 
Trials  2014;15:253.
Blunt head trauma is a common cause of death and disability in children worldwide. Cranial computed tomography (CT), the reference standard for the diagnosis of traumatic brain injury (TBI), exposes children to ionizing radiation which has been linked to the development of brain tumors, leukemia, and other cancers. We describe the methods used to develop and test the effectiveness of a decision aid to facilitate shared decision-making with parents regarding whether to obtain a head CT scan or to further observe their child at home.
This is a protocol for a multicenter clinician-level parallel randomized trial to compare an intervention group receiving a decision aid, ‘Head CT Choice’, to a control group receiving usual care. The trial will be conducted at five diverse emergency departments (EDs) in Minnesota and California. Clinicians will be randomized to decision aid or usual care. Parents visiting the ED with children who are less than 18-years-old, have experienced blunt head trauma within 24 hours, and have one or two risk factors for clinically-important TBI (ciTBI) from the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network head injury clinical prediction rules will be eligible for enrollment. We will measure the effect of Head CT Choice on: (1) parent knowledge regarding their child’s risk of ciTBI, the available diagnostic options, and the risks of radiation exposure associated with a cranial CT scan (primary outcome); (2) parent engagement in the decision-making process; (3) the degree of conflict parents experience related to feeling uninformed; (4) patient and clinician satisfaction with the decision made; (5) the rate of ciTBI at seven days; (6) the proportion of patients in whom a cranial CT scan is obtained; and (7) seven-day healthcare utilization. To capture these outcomes, we will administer parent and clinician surveys immediately after each clinical encounter, obtain video recordings of parent-clinician discussions, administer parent healthcare utilization diaries, analyze hospital billing records, review the electronic medical record, and conduct telephone follow-up.
This multicenter trial will robustly assess the effectiveness of a decision aid on patient-centered outcomes, safety, and healthcare utilization in parents of children with minor head trauma in five diverse EDs.
Trial registration registration number: NCT02063087. Registration date February 13, 2014.
PMCID: PMC4081461  PMID: 24965659
7.  Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials (COMET) initiative: protocol for an international Delphi study to achieve consensus on how to select outcome measurement instruments for outcomes included in a ‘core outcome set’ 
Trials  2014;15:247.
The Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials (COMET) initiative aims to facilitate the development and application of ‘core outcome sets’ (COS). A COS is an agreed minimum set of outcomes that should be measured and reported in all clinical trials of a specific disease or trial population. The overall aim of the Core Outcome Measurement Instrument Selection (COMIS) project is to develop a guideline on how to select outcome measurement instruments for outcomes included in a COS. As part of this project, we describe our current efforts to achieve a consensus on the methods for selecting outcome measurement instruments for outcomes to be included in a COS.
A Delphi study is being performed by a panel of international experts representing diverse stakeholders with the intention that this will result in a guideline for outcome measurement instrument selection. Informed by a literature review, a Delphi questionnaire was developed to identify potentially relevant tasks on instrument selection. The Delphi study takes place in a series of rounds. In the first round, panelists were asked to rate the importance of different tasks in the selection of outcome measurement instruments. They were encouraged to justify their choices and to add other relevant tasks. Consensus was reached if at least 70% of the panelists considered a task ‘highly recommended’ or ‘desirable’ and if no opposing arguments were provided. These tasks will be included in the guideline. Tasks that at least 50% of the panelists considered ‘not relevant’ will be excluded from the guideline. Tasks that were indeterminate will be taken to the second round. All responses of the first round are currently being aggregated and will be fed back to panelists in the second round. A third round will only be performed if the results of the second round require it.
Since the Delphi method allows a large group of international experts to participate, we consider it to be the preferred consensus-based method for our study. Based upon this consultation process, a guideline will be developed on instrument selection for outcomes to be included in a COS.
PMCID: PMC4082295  PMID: 24962012
COMET; Core outcome set; Delphi study; Outcome measurement instruments; Selection; Protocol; Guideline
8.  The effect of ‘sleep high and train low’ on weight loss in overweight Chinese adolescents: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:250.
Exercise and diet are the cornerstones for the treatment of obesity in obese children and adolescents. However, compensatory changes in appetite and energy expenditure elicited by exercise and dieting make it hard to maintain a reduced weight over the longterm. The anorexic effect of hypoxia can be potentially utilized to counteract this compensatory increase, thereby enhancing the success of weight loss. The purpose of the study is to assess the effectiveness of four week intermittent hypoxia exposure added to a traditional exercise and diet intervention on inducing short- and longterm weight loss in obese adolescents.
In this randomized parallel group controlled clinical trial, 40 obese adolescents (20 boys and 20 girls, 11 to 15-years-old), will be recruited from a summer weight loss camp at the Shanghai University of Sport, China. Participants will be stratified by gender and randomly assigned to either the control group or the hypoxia group. During the four-week intervention period, both groups will exercise and eat a balanced diet. Additionally, the control group will sleep in normal conditions, while the hypoxia group will sleep in a normobaric hypoxia chamber (sleep high and train low). The primary outcome will be body composition and the main secondary outcomes will be the circulating levels of appetite regulatory gastrointestinal hormones. All the outcome measures will be assessed at baseline, after the four-week intervention, and at two months follow-up.
Our study will be the first to evaluate the effectiveness of ‘sleep high and train low’ on short- and longterm weight loss among obese adolescents. A potential mechanism for the appetite regulatory effect of hypoxia will also be explored. The results of the study will provide an evidence-based recommendation for the use of hypoxia in a weight loss intervention among obese children and adolescents. Furthermore, the clarification of mechanisms leading to weight loss in ‘sleep high and train low’ might provide information for the development of new strategies in combating obesity.
Trial registration
This trial was registered on 10 January 2014 at the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry with the registration number: ChiCTR-TRC-14004106.
PMCID: PMC4082418  PMID: 24962246
Hypoxia; Living high-training low; Weight loss; Adolescents; Gastrointestinal hormone
9.  Prognosis after ST-elevation myocardial infarction: a study on cardiac magnetic resonance imaging versus clinical routine 
Trials  2014;15:249.
This study aimed to evaluate the incremental prognostic value of infarct size, microvascular obstruction (MO), myocardial salvage index (MSI), and left ventricular ejection fraction (LV-EFCMR) assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) in comparison to traditional outcome markers in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) reperfused by primary percutaneous intervention (PCI).
STEMI patients reperfused by primary PCI (n = 278) within 12 hours after symptom onset underwent CMR three days after the index event (interquartile range [IQR] two to four). Infarct size and MO were measured 15 minutes after gadolinium injection. T2-weighted and contrast-enhanced CMR were used to calculate MSI. In addition, traditional outcome markers such as ST-segment resolution, pre- and post-PCI Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction (TIMI)-flow, maximum level of creatine kinase-MB, TIMI-risk score, and left ventricular ejection fraction assessed by echocardiography were determined in all patients. Clinical follow-up was conducted after 19 months (IQR 10 to 27). The primary endpoint was defined as a composite of death, myocardial reinfarction, and congestive heart failure (MACE).
In multivariable Cox regression analysis, adjusting for all traditional outcome parameters significantly associated with the primary endpoint in univariable analysis, MSI was identified as an independent predictor for the occurrence of MACE (Hazard ratio 0.94, 95% CI 0.92 to 0.96, P <0.001). Further, C-statistics comparing a model including only traditional outcome markers to a model including CMR parameters on top of traditional outcome markers revealed an incremental prognostic value of CMR parameters (0.74 versus 0.94, P <0.001).
CMR parameters such as infarct size, MO, MSI, and LV-EFCMR add incremental prognostic value above traditional outcome markers alone in acute reperfused STEMI.
Trial registration NCT00463749, NCT00359918.
PMCID: PMC4083878  PMID: 24962156
ST-elevation myocardial infarction; Prognosis; Traditional outcome markers; Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging
10.  Emergency department-initiated palliative care for advanced cancer patients: protocol for a pilot randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:251.
For patients with advanced cancer, visits to the emergency department (ED) are common. Such patients present to the ED with a specific profile of palliative care needs, including burdensome symptoms such as pain, dyspnea, or vomiting that cannot be controlled in other settings and a lack of well-defined goals of care. The goals of this study are: i) to test the feasibility of recruiting, enrolling, and randomizing patients with serious illness in the ED; and ii) to evaluate the impact of ED-initiated palliative care on health care utilization, quality of life, and survival.
This is a protocol for a single center parallel, two-arm randomized controlled trial in ED patients with metastatic solid tumors comparing ED-initiated palliative care referral to a control group receiving usual care. We plan to enroll 125 to 150 ED-advanced cancer patients at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, USA, who meet the following criteria: i) pass a brief cognitive screen; ii) speak fluent English or Spanish; and iii) have never been seen by palliative care. We will use balanced block randomization in groups of 50 to assign patients to the intervention or control group after completion of a baseline questionnaire. All research staff performing assessment or analysis will be blinded to patient assignment. We will measure the impact of the palliative care intervention on the following outcomes: i) timing and rate of palliative care consultation; ii) quality of life and depression at 12 weeks, measured using the FACT-G and PHQ-9; iii) health care utilization; and iv) length of survival. The primary analysis will be based on intention-to-treat.
This pilot randomized controlled trial will test the feasibility of recruiting, enrolling, and randomizing patients with advanced cancer in the ED, and provide a preliminary estimate of the impact of palliative care referral on health care utilization, quality of life, and survival.
Trial registration
Clinical identifier: NCT01358110 (Entered 5/19/2011).
PMCID: PMC4090632  PMID: 24962353
Cancer; Emergency medicine; Palliative care
11.  Continuous intra-articular infusion anesthesia for pain control after total knee arthroplasty: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:245.
Postoperative pain control after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) remains a great challenge. The management of pain in the immediate postoperative period is one of the most critical aspects to allow speedier rehabilitation and reduce the risk of postoperative complications. Recently, periarticular infiltration anesthesia has become popular, but the outcome is controversial. Some studies have shown transient effects, “rebound pain”, or no effectiveness in pain control. Continuous intra-articular infusion technique has been introduced to improve these transient effects, but more clinical studies are needed. Furthermore, the potential risk of early periprosthetic joint infection is causing concerning. We plan to compare continuous intra-articular infusion anesthesia with epidural infusion anesthesia after TKA to assess the effectiveness of this technique in reducing pain, in improving postoperative function, and to look at the evidence for risk of early infection.
This trial is a randomized, controlled study. Patients (n = 214) will be randomized into two groups: to receive continuous intra-articular infusion anesthesia (group C); and epidural infusion anesthesia (group E). For the first 3 postoperative days, pain at rest, active range of motion (A-ROM), rescue analgesia and side effects will be recorded. At 3-month and 6-month follow-up, A-ROM, C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and synovial fluid cell count and culture will be analyzed.
The results from this study will provide clinical evidence on the efficacy of a continuous intra-articular infusion technique in reducing pain, postoperative functional improvement and safety. It will be the first randomized controlled trial to investigate infection risk with local anesthesia after TKA.
Trial registration identifier: ChiCTR-TRC-13003999
PMCID: PMC4074607  PMID: 24958315
Total knee arthroplasty; Postoperative pain control; Continuous intra-articular infusion anesthesia; Randomized controlled trial
12.  Efficacy of electroacupuncture for symptoms of menopausal transition: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:242.
Previous studies have shown that acupuncture can alleviate postmenopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, but few studies have assessed symptoms during the menopausal transition (MT) period. Thus, the effect of acupuncture upon MT symptoms is unclear. We designed a large-scale trial aimed at evaluating the efficacy of electroacupuncture for MT symptoms compared with sham electroacupuncture and at observing the safety of electroacupuncture.
In this multicenter randomized controlled trial, 360 women will be randomized to either an electroacupuncture group or a sham electroacupuncture group. During the 8-week-long treatment, a menopause rating scale, average 24-hour hot flash score, Menopause-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire score, and level of female hormones will be observed. Follow-ups at the 20th and 32nd week will be made.
Though there is no completely inert placebo acupuncture and blinding is difficult in acupuncture trials, the placebo effect of EA can still be partially excluded in this study. For the placebo control, we use non-points and a tailor-made sham needle. This needle is different from a retractable needle, which is usually used for sham acupuncture. The needle in this trial is more simply constructed and more acceptable to Chinese people. We expect to evaluate the efficacy of electroacupuncture for MT symptoms and clarify its effect on these symptoms.
Trial registration Identifier: NCT01849172 (Date of registration: 05/05/2013).
PMCID: PMC4075980  PMID: 24950841
Electroacupuncture; Menopausal transition; Multicenter randomized controlled trial; Safety
13.  Medial open transversus abdominis plane (MOTAP) catheters for analgesia following open liver resection: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:241.
The current standard for pain control following liver surgery is intravenous, patient-controlled analgesia (IV PCA) or epidural analgesia. We have developed a modification of a regional technique called medial open transversus abdominis plane (MOTAP) catheter analgesia. The MOTAP technique involves surgically placed catheters through the open surgical site into a plane between the internal oblique muscle and the transverse abdominis muscle superiorly. The objective of this trial is to assess the efficacy of this technique.
This protocol describes a multicentre, prospective, blinded, randomized controlled trial. One hundred and twenty patients scheduled for open liver resection through a subcostal incision will be enrolled. All patients will have two MOTAP catheters placed at the conclusion of surgery. Patients will be randomized to one of two parallel groups: experimental (local anaesthetic through MOTAP catheters) or placebo (normal saline through MOTAP catheters). Both groups will also receive IV PCA. The primary endpoint is mean cumulative postoperative opioid consumption over the first 2 postoperative days (48 hours). Secondary outcomes include pain intensity, patient functional outcomes, and the incidence of complications.
This trial has been approved by the ethics boards at participating centres and is currently enrolling patients. Data collection will be completed by the end of 2014 with analysis mid-2015 and publication by the end of 2015.
Trial registration
The study is registered with ( NCT01960049; 23 September 2013)
PMCID: PMC4078361  PMID: 24950773
Liver surgery; Analgesia; Transversus abdominis plane; Randomized controlled trial
14.  Mobile phone text messaging intervention to improve alertness and reduce sleepiness and fatigue during shiftwork among emergency medicine clinicians: study protocol for the SleepTrackTXT pilot randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:244.
Mental and physical fatigue while at work is common among emergency medical services (EMS) shift workers. Extended shifts (for example 24 hours) and excessive amounts of overtime work increase the likelihood of negative safety outcomes and pose a challenge for EMS fatigue-risk management. Text message-based interventions are a potentially high-impact, low-cost platform for sleep and fatigue assessment and distributing information to workers at risk of negative safety outcomes related to sleep behaviors and fatigue.
We will conduct a pilot randomized trial with a convenience sample of adult EMS workers recruited from across the United States using a single study website. Participants will be allocated to one of two possible arms for a 90-day study period. The intervention arm will involve text message assessments of sleepiness, fatigue, and difficulty with concentration at the beginning, during, and end of scheduled shifts. Intervention subjects reporting high levels of sleepiness or fatigue will receive one of four randomly selected intervention messages promoting behavior change during shiftwork. Control subjects will receive assessment only text messages. We aim to determine the performance characteristics of a text messaging tool for the delivery of a sleep and fatigue intervention. We seek to determine if a text messaging program with tailored intervention messages is effective at reducing perceived sleepiness and/or fatigue among emergency medicine clinician shift workers. Additional aims include testing whether a theory-based behavioral intervention, delivered by text message, changes ‘alertness behaviors’.
The SleepTrackTXT pilot trial could provide evidence of compliance and effectiveness that would support rapid widespread expansion in one of two forms: 1) a stand-alone program in the form of a tailored/individualized sleep monitoring and fatigue reduction support service for EMS workers; or 2) an add-on to a multi-component fatigue risk management program led and maintained by employers or by safety and risk management services.
Trial Registration NCT02063737, Registered on 10 January 2014
PMCID: PMC4080698  PMID: 24952387
Shiftwork; Sleepiness; Fatigue; Alertness; Emergency medicine; Randomized controlled trial
15.  Practice network-based care management for patients with type 2 diabetes and multiple comorbidities (GEDIMAplus): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:243.
Care management interventions in the German health-care system have been evaluated with promising results, but further research is necessary to explore their full potential in the context of multi-morbidity. Our aim in this trial is to assess the efficacy of a primary care practice network–based care management intervention in improving self-care behaviour among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and multiple co-occurring chronic conditions.
The study is designed as a prospective, 18-month, multicentre, investigator-blinded, two-arm, open-label, individual-level, randomized parallel-group superiority trial. We will enrol 582 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and at least two severe chronic conditions and one informal caregiver per patient. Data will be collected at baseline (T0), at the primary endpoint after 9 months (T1) and at follow-up after 18 months (T2). The primary outcome will be the differences between the intervention and control groups in changes of diabetes-related self-care behaviours from baseline to T1 using a German version of the revised Summary of Diabetes Self-Care Activities (SDSCA-G). The secondary outcomes will be the differences between the intervention and control groups in: changes in scores on the SDSCA-G subscales, glycosylated haemoglobin A level, health-related quality of life, self-efficacy, differences in (severe) symptomatic hypoglycaemia, cost-effectiveness and financial family burden. The intervention will be delivered by trained health-care assistants as an add-on to usual care and will consist of three main elements: (1) three home visits, including structured assessment of medical and social needs; (2) 24 structured telephone monitoring contacts; and (3) self-monitoring of blood glucose levels after T1 in 3-month intervals. The control group will receive usual care. The confirmatory primary analysis will be performed following the intention-to-treat (ITT) principle. The efficacy of the intervention will be quantified using two-level linear regression stratified by type of medical treatment adjusted for baseline values on the SDSCA-G. Secondary analyses will be performed according to the ITT principle. In health economic evaluations, we will estimate the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios.
We hope that the results of this study will provide insights into the efficacy of practice network–based care management among patients with complex health-care needs.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN 83908315 (ISRCTN assigned 25 February 2014).
PMCID: PMC4082294  PMID: 24952740
Care management; Chronic care; Diabetes; Multi-morbidity; Primary care; Self-care
16.  Comparison of a standard CO2 pressure pneumoperitoneum insufflator versus AirSeal™: study protocol of a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:239.
AirSeal™ is a novel class of valve-free insufflation system that enables a stable pneumoperitoneum with continuous smoke evacuation and carbon dioxide (CO2) recirculation during laparoscopic surgery. Comparison data to standard CO2 pressure pneumoperitoneum insufflators is scarce. The aim of this study is to evaluate the potential advantages of AirSeal™ compared to a standard CO2 insufflator.
This is a single center randomized controlled trial comparing elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy, colorectal surgery and hernia repair with AirSeal™ (group A) versus a standard CO2 pressure insufflator (group S). Patients are randomized using a web-based central randomization and registration system. Primary outcome measures will be operative time and level of postoperative shoulder pain by using the visual analog score (VAS). Secondary outcomes include the evaluation of immunological values through blood tests, anesthesiological parameters, surgical side effects and length of hospital stay. Taking into account an expected dropout rate of 5%, the total number of patients is 182 (n = 91 per group). All tests will be two-sided with a confidence level of 95% (P <0.05).
The duration of an operation is an important factor in reducing the patient’s exposure to CO2 pneumoperitoneum and its adverse consequences. This trial will help to evaluate if the announced advantages of AirSeal™, such as clear sight of the operative site and an exceptionally stable working environment, will facilitate the course of selected procedures and influence operation time and patients clinical outcome.
Trial registration NCT01740011, registered 23 November 2012.
PMCID: PMC4078359  PMID: 24950720
Pneumoperitoneum; AirSeal™; Laparoscopy; CO2 Insufflator; Shoulder pain
17.  Use of drug therapy in the management of symptomatic ureteric stones in hospitalized adults (SUSPEND), a multicentre, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of a calcium-channel blocker (nifedipine) and an α-blocker (tamsulosin): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:238.
Urinary stone disease is common, with an estimated prevalence among the general population of 2% to 3%. Ureteric stones can cause severe pain and have a significant impact on quality of life, accounting for over 15,000 hospital admissions in England annually. Uncomplicated cases of smaller stones in the lower ureter are traditionally treated expectantly. Those who fail standard care or develop complications undergo active treatment, such as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy or ureteroscopy with stone retrieval. Such interventions are expensive, require urological expertise and carry a risk of complications.
Growing understanding of ureteric function and pathophysiology has led to the hypothesis that drugs causing relaxation of ureteric smooth muscle, such as the selective α-blocker tamsulosin and the calcium-channel blocker nifedipine, can enhance the spontaneous passage of ureteric stones. The use of drugs in augmenting stone passage, reducing the morbidity and costs associated with ureteric stone disease, is promising. However, the majority of clinical trials conducted to date have been small, poor to moderate quality and lacking in comprehensive economic evaluation.
This trial aims to determine the clinical and cost-effectiveness of tamsulosin and nifedipine in the management of symptomatic urinary stones.
The SUSPEND (Spontaneous Urinary Stone Passage ENabled by Drugs) trial is a multicentre, double-blind, randomized controlled trial evaluating two medical expulsive therapy strategies (nifedipine or tamsulosin) versus placebo.
Patients aged 18 to 65 with a ureteric stone confirmed by non-contrast computed tomography of the kidney, ureter and bladder will be randomized to receive nifedipine, tamsulosin or placebo (400 participants per arm) for a maximum of 28 days. The primary clinical outcome is spontaneous passage of ureteric stones at 4 weeks (defined as no further intervention required to facilitate stone passage). The primary economic outcome is a reduction in the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life years, determined at 12 weeks. The analysis will be based on all participants as randomized (intention to treat). The trial has 90% power with a type I error rate of 5% to detect a 10% increase in primary outcome between the tamsulosin and nifedipine treatment groups.
Trial registration
ISRCTN69423238; EudraCT number: 2010-019469-26
PMCID: PMC4090633  PMID: 24947817
medical expulsive therapy; nifedipine; tamsulosin; ureteric stone
18.  National Adolescent Treatment Trial for Obesity in Kuwait (NATTO): project design and results of a randomised controlled trial of a good practice approach to treatment of adolescent obesity in Kuwait 
Trials  2014;15:234.
Few randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of interventions for the treatment of adolescent obesity have taken place outside the western world. This RCT tested whether a simple ‘good practice’ intervention for the treatment of adolescent obesity would have a greater impact on weight status and other outcomes than a referral to primary care (control) in adolescents in Kuwait City.
We report on an assessor-blinded RCT of a treatment intervention in 82 obese 10- to 14-year-olds (mean age 12.4, SD 1.2 years), randomised to a good practice treatment or primary care control group over 6 months. The good practice intervention was intended as relatively low intensity (6 hours contact over 24 weeks, group-based), aiming to change sedentary behaviour, physical activity, and diet. The primary outcome was a change in body mass index (BMI) Z score; other outcomes were changes in waist circumference and blood pressure.
The retention of subjects to follow up was acceptable (n = 31 from the intervention group, and n = 32 from the control group), but engagement with both the intervention and control treatment was poor. Treatment had no significant effect on BMI Z score relative to control, and no other significant benefits to intervention were observed.
The trial was feasible, but highlights the need to engage obese adolescents and their families in the interventions being trialled. The trial should inform the development of future adolescent obesity treatment trials in the Gulf States with the incorporation of qualitative assessment in future intervention trials.
Trial registration
RCT Registered as National Adolescent Treatment Trial for Obesity in Kuwait (NATTO):, 1 December 2009.
PMCID: PMC4074381  PMID: 24943283
obesity; overweight; adolescents; treatment; BMI; randomised controlled trial
19.  Intervention to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and improve comorbidity outcomes in hypertensive or depressed primary care patients: two parallel cluster randomized feasibility trials 
Trials  2014;15:235.
Many primary care patients with raised blood pressure or depression drink potentially hazardous levels of alcohol. Brief interventions (BI) to reduce alcohol consumption may improve comorbid conditions and reduce the risk of future alcohol problems. However, research has not established their effectiveness in this patient population. This study aimed to establish the feasibility of definitive trials of BI to reduce excessive drinking in primary care patients with hypertension or mild to moderate depression.
Thirteen general practices in North East England were randomized to the intervention or control arm of one of two parallel pilot trials. Adult patients drinking excessively and diagnosed with hypertension or mild-to-moderate depression received the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) by postal survey. Consenting respondents scoring more than 7 on AUDIT (score range 0 to 40) received brief alcohol consumption advice plus an information leaflet (intervention) or an information leaflet alone (control) with follow-up at six months. Measurements included the numbers of patients eligible, recruited, and retained, and the AUDIT score and systolic/diastolic blood pressure of each patient or the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) score. Acceptability was assessed via practitioner feedback and patient willingness to be screened, recruited, and retained at follow-up.
In the hypertension trial, 1709 of 33,813 adult patients (5.1%) were eligible and were surveyed. Among the eligible patients, 468 (27.4%) returned questionnaires; 166 (9.6% of those surveyed) screened positively on AUDIT and 83 (4.8% of those surveyed) were recruited (50.0% of positive screens). Sixty-seven cases (80.7% of recruited patients) completed follow-up at six months. In the depression trial, 1,044 of 73,146 adult patients (1.4%) were eligible and surveyed. Among these eligible patients, 215 (20.6%) responded; 104 (10.0% of those surveyed) screened positively on AUDIT and 29 (2.8% of those surveyed) were recruited (27.9% of positive screens). Nineteen cases (65.5% of recruited patients) completed follow-up at six months.
Recruitment and retention rates were higher in the hypertension trial than in the depression trial. A full brief intervention trial appears feasible for primary care patients with hypertension who drink excessively. High AUDIT scores in the depression trial suggest the importance of alcohol intervention in this group. However, future work may require alternative screening and measurement procedures.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN89156543; registered 21 October 2013.
PMCID: PMC4076249  PMID: 24947447
Alcohol; Screening; Brief intervention; Comorbid; Hypertension; Depression; Primary care; Trial; Preventive; Feasibility
20.  Vancomycin versus daptomycin for the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia due to isolates with high vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentrations: study protocol for a phase IIB randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:233.
Vancomycin is the standard first-line treatment for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia. However, recent consensus guidelines recommend that clinicians consider using alternative agents such as daptomycin when the vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration is greater than 1 ug/ml. To date however, there have been no head-to-head randomized trials comparing the safety and efficacy of daptomycin and vancomycin in the treatment of such infections. The primary aim of our study is to compare the efficacy of daptomycin versus vancomycin in the treatment of bloodstream infections due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates with high vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentrations (greater than or equal to 1.5 ug/ml) in terms of reducing all-cause 60-day mortality.
The study is designed as a multicenter prospective open label phase IIB pilot randomized controlled trial. Eligible participants will be inpatients over 21-years-old with a positive blood culture for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus with vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration of greater than or equal to 1.5ug/ml. Randomization into intervention or active control arms will be performed with a 1:1 allocation ratio. We aim to recruit 50 participants over a period of two years. Participants randomized to the active control arm will receive vancomycin dose-while those randomized to the intervention arm will receive daptomycin. Participants will receive a minimum of 14 days study treatment.
The primary analysis will be conducted on the intention-to-treat principle. The Fisher’s exact test will be used to compare the 60-day mortality rate from index blood cultures (primary endpoint) between the two treatment arms, and the exact two-sided 95% confidence interval will be calculated using the Clopper and Pearson method. Primary analysis will be conducted using a two sided alpha of 0.05.
If results from this pilot study suggest that daptomycin shows significant efficacy in the treatment of bloodstream infections due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates with high vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentrations, we aim to proceed with a larger scale confirmatory study. This would help guide clinicians and inform practice guidelines on the optimal treatment for such infections.
Trial registration
The trial is listed on (NCT01975662, date of registration: 29 October 2013).
PMCID: PMC4081513  PMID: 24943129
MRSA; Bacteremia; Daptomycin; Vancomycin
21.  Economic support to improve tuberculosis treatment outcomes in South Africa: a qualitative process evaluation of a cluster randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:236.
Poverty undermines the adherence of patients to tuberculosis treatment. A pragmatic cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted to investigate the extent to which economic support in the form of a voucher would improve patients’ adherence to treatment, and their treatment outcomes. Although the trial showed a modest improvement in the treatment success rates of the intervention group, this was not statistically significant, due in part to the low fidelity to the trial intervention. A qualitative process evaluation, conducted in the final few months of the trial, explained some of the factors that contributed to this low fidelity.
In-depth interviews were conducted with patients who received vouchers, nurses in intervention clinics, personnel in shops who administered the vouchers, and managers of the TB Control Programme. These interviews were analyzed thematically.
The low fidelity to the trial intervention can be explained by two main factors. The first was nurses’ tendency to ‘ration’ the vouchers, only giving them to the most needy of eligible patients and leaving out those eligible patients whom they felt were financially more comfortable. The second was logistical issues related to the administration of the voucher as vouchers were not always available for patients on their appointed clinic dates, necessitating further visits to the clinics which they were not always able to make.
This process evaluation identifies some of the most important factors that contributed to the results of this pragmatic trial. It highlights the value of process evaluations as tools to explain the results of randomized trials and emphasizes the importance of implementers as ‘street level bureaucrats’ who may profoundly affect the way an intervention is administered.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN50689131, registered 21 April 2009.
The trial protocol is available at the following web address:
PMCID: PMC4086265  PMID: 24947537
Economic; Support; Incentives; Enablers; Tuberculosis; Qualitative process evaluation; RCT
22.  A review of the handling of missing longitudinal outcome data in clinical trials 
Trials  2014;15:237.
The aim of this review was to establish the frequency with which trials take into account missingness, and to discover what methods trialists use for adjustment in randomised controlled trials with longitudinal measurements. Failing to address the problems that can arise from missing outcome data can result in misleading conclusions. Missing data should be addressed as a means of a sensitivity analysis of the complete case analysis results. One hundred publications of randomised controlled trials with longitudinal measurements were selected randomly from trial publications from the years 2005 to 2012. Information was extracted from these trials, including whether reasons for dropout were reported, what methods were used for handing the missing data, whether there was any explanation of the methods for missing data handling, and whether a statistician was involved in the analysis. The main focus of the review was on missing data post dropout rather than missing interim data. Of all the papers in the study, 9 (9%) had no missing data. More than half of the papers included in the study failed to make any attempt to explain the reasons for their choice of missing data handling method. Of the papers with clear missing data handling methods, 44 papers (50%) used adequate methods of missing data handling, whereas 30 (34%) of the papers used missing data methods which may not have been appropriate. In the remaining 17 papers (19%), it was difficult to assess the validity of the methods used. An imputation method was used in 18 papers (20%). Multiple imputation methods were introduced in 1987 and are an efficient way of accounting for missing data in general, and yet only 4 papers used these methods. Out of the 18 papers which used imputation, only 7 displayed the results as a sensitivity analysis of the complete case analysis results. 61% of the papers that used an imputation explained the reasons for their chosen method. Just under a third of the papers made no reference to reasons for missing outcome data. There was little consistency in reporting of missing data within longitudinal trials.
PMCID: PMC4087243  PMID: 24947664
Review; Missing; Data; Handling; Longitudinal; Repeated; Measures
23.  The HYPERFlax trial for determining the anti-HYPERtensive effects of dietary flaxseed in newly diagnosed stage 1 hypertensive patients: study protocol for a randomized, double-blinded, controlled clinical trial 
Trials  2014;15:232.
In 2013 the World Health Organization deemed hypertension as a global crisis as it is the leading risk factor attributed to global mortality. Therefore, there is a great need for effective alternative treatment strategies to combat a condition that affects 40% of adults worldwide. Recently, the FlaxPAD Trial observed a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive patients with peripheral arterial disease that consumed 30 g of milled flaxseed per day for one year. However, these patients were already on anti-hypertensive medication. Therefore, there is a need to assess if dietary flaxseed can effectively reduce blood pressure in the absence of peripheral arterial disease and anti-hypertensive medication in newly diagnosed hypertensive patients.
The HYPERFlax Trial is a parallel, superiority, phase II/III, randomized, double-blinded, controlled clinical trial. St. Boniface Hospital and the Health Sciences Centre of Winnipeg, Canada, will recruit 100 participants newly diagnosed with stage 1 hypertension who have yet to be administered anti-hypertensive medication. Participants will be randomly allocated with a 1:1 ratio into a flaxseed or control group and provided food products to consume daily for six months. At baseline, two, four, and six months, participant assessments will include the primary outcome measure, averaged automated blood pressure, and secondary measures: 24-hour food recall, international physical activity questionnaire, anthropometrics, and blood and urine sampling for biochemical analysis. Plasma will be assessed for lipids, metabolomics profiling, and molecules that regulate vascular tone. Urine will be collected for metabolomics profiling. With an estimated dropout rate of 20%, the trial will have a power of 0.80 to detect differences between groups and across time, out of an effect size of 0.7 (SD) at an α level of 0.05.
This trial will determine if dietary flaxseed is efficacious over six months as an anti-hypertensive therapy in subjects newly diagnosed with hypertension. If flaxseed can effectively reduce blood pressure as a monotherapy, then flaxseed will provide individuals on a global basis with a cost-effective food-based strategy to control hypertension.
Trial registration
NCT01952340, Registered 24 September 2013.
PMCID: PMC4073186  PMID: 24938224
Hypertension; Flaxseed; Blood pressure; Nutrition; Alpha linolenic acid
24.  The efficacy of a behavioral activation intervention among depressed US Latinos with limited English language proficiency: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:231.
Major depressive disorder is highly prevalent among Latinos with limited English language proficiency in the United States. Although major depressive disorder is highly treatable, barriers to depression treatment have historically prevented Latinos with limited English language proficiency from accessing effective interventions. The project seeks to evaluate the efficacy of behavioral activation treatment for depression, an empirically supported treatment for depression, as an intervention that may address some of the disparities surrounding the receipt of efficacious mental health care for this population.
Following a pilot study of behavioral activation treatment for depression with 10 participants which yielded very promising results, the current study is a randomized control trial testing behavioral activation treatment for depression versus a supportive counseling treatment for depression. We are in the process of recruiting 60 Latinos with limited English language proficiency meeting criteria for major depressive disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th and 5th Edition for participation in a single-center efficacy trial. Participants are randomized to receive 10 sessions of behavioral activation treatment for depression (n = 30) or 10 sessions of supportive counseling (n = 30). Assessments occur prior to each session and at 1 month after completing treatment. Intervention targets include depressive symptomatology and the proposed mechanisms of behavioral activation treatment for depression: activity level and environmental reward. We will also examine other factors related to treatment outcome such as treatment adherence, treatment satisfaction, and therapeutic alliance.
This randomized controlled trial will allow us to determine the efficacy of behavioral activation treatment for depression in a fast-growing, yet highly underserved population in US mental health services. The study is also among the first to examine the effect of the proposed mechanisms of change of behavioral activation treatment for depression (that is, activity level and environmental reward) on depression over time. To our knowledge, this is the first randomized controlled trial to compare an empirical-supported treatment to a control supportive counseling condition in a sample of depressed, Spanish-speaking Latinos in the United States.
Trial registration
Clinical Trials Register: NCT01958840; registered 8 October 2013.
PMCID: PMC4074338  PMID: 24938081
Behavioral activation; Randomized controlled trial; Latinos; Depression; Spanish-speaking
25.  Statistical analysis plan for the Stroke Oxygen Study (SO2S): a multi-center randomized controlled trial to assess whether routine oxygen supplementation in the first 72 hours after a stroke improves long-term outcome 
Trials  2014;15:229.
The Stroke Oxygen Study (SO2S) is a multi-center randomized controlled trial of oxygen supplementation in patients with acute stroke. The main hypothesis for the trial is that fixed-dose oxygen treatment during the first 3 days after an acute stroke improves outcome. The secondary hypothesis is that restricting oxygen supplementation to night time only is more effective than continuous supplementation. This paper describes the statistical analysis plan for the study.
Methods and design
Patients (n = 8000) are randomized to three groups: (1) continuous oxygen supplementation for 72 hours; (2) nocturnal oxygen supplementation for three nights; and (3) no routine oxygen supplementation. Outcomes are recorded at 7 days, 90 days, 6 months, and 12 months. The primary outcome measure is the modified Rankin scale at 90 days. Data will be analyzed according to the intention-to-treat principle. Methods of statistical analysis are described, including the handling of missing data, the covariates used in adjusted analyses, planned subgroups analyses, and planned sensitivity analyses.
Trial registration
This trial is registered with the ISRCTN register, number ISRCTN52416964 (30 September 2005).
PMCID: PMC4067072  PMID: 24939648
hypoxia; oxygen supplementation; randomized controlled trial; statistical analysis plan; stroke

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