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1.  Predicting developmental outcomes in premature infants by term equivalent MRI: systematic review and meta-analysis 
Systematic Reviews  2015;4:71.
Background
This study aims to determine the prognostic accuracy of term MRI in very preterm born (≤32 weeks) or low-birth-weight (≤1500 g) infants for long-term (>18 months) developmental outcomes.
Methods
We performed a systematic review searching Central, Medline, Embase, and PsycInfo. Two independent reviewers performed study selection, data extraction, and quality assessment. We documented sensitivity and specificity for three different MRI findings (white matter abnormalities (WMA), brain abnormality (BA), and diffuse excessive high signal intensity (DEHSI)), related to developmental outcomes including cerebral palsy (CP), visual and/or hearing problems, motor, neurocognitive, and behavioral function. Using bivariate meta-analysis, we estimated pooled sensitivity and specificity and plotted summary receiver operating characteristic (sROC) curves for different cut-offs of MRI.
Results
We included 20 papers published between 2000 and 2013. Quality of included studies varied. Pooled sensitivity and specificity values (95 % confidence interval (CI)) for prediction of CP combining the three different MRI findings (using normal/mild vs. moderate/severe cut-off) were 77 % (53 to 91 %) and 79 % (51 to 93 %), respectively. For prediction of motor function, the values were 72 % (52 to 86 %) and 62 % (29 to 87 %), respectively. Prognostic accuracy for visual and/or hearing problems, neurocognitive, and/or behavioral function was poor. sROC curves of the individual MRI findings showed that presence of WMA provided the best prognostic accuracy whereas DEHSI did not show any potential prognostic accuracy.
Conclusions
This study shows that presence of moderate/severe WMA on MRI around term equivalent age can predict CP and motor function in very preterm or low-birth-weight infants with moderate sensitivity and specificity. Its ability to predict other long-term outcomes such as neurocognitive and behavioral impairments is limited. Also, other white matter related tests as BA and DEHSI demonstrated limited prognostic value.
Systematic review registration
PROSPERO CRD42013006362
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13643-015-0058-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13643-015-0058-7
PMCID: PMC4438620  PMID: 25982565
Premature; Preterm; Development; White matter; MRI
2.  Predicting posttraumatic stress disorder in children and parents following accidental child injury: evaluation of the Screening Tool for Early Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (STEPP) 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:113.
Background
Children and their parents are at risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following injury due to pediatric accidental trauma. Screening could help predict those at greatest risk and provide an opportunity for monitoring so that early intervention may be provided. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the Screening Tool for Early Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (STEPP) in a mixed-trauma sample in a non-English speaking country (the Netherlands).
Methods
Children aged 8-18 and one of their parents were recruited in two academic level I trauma centers. The STEPP was assessed in 161 children (mean age 13.9 years) and 156 parents within one week of the accident. Three months later, clinical diagnoses and symptoms of PTSD were assessed in 147 children and 135 parents. We used the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for DSM-IV - Child and Parent version, the Children’s Revised Impact of Event Scale and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised. Receiver Operating Characteristic analyses were performed to estimate the Areas Under the Curve as a measure of performance and to determine the optimal cut-off score in our sample. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values were calculated. The aim was to maximize both sensitivity and negative predictive values.
Results
PTSD was diagnosed in 12% of the children; 10% of their parents scored above the cut-off point for PTSD. At the originally recommended cut-off scores (4 for children, 3 for parents), the sensitivity in our sample was 41% for children and 54% for parents. Negative predictive values were 92% for both groups. Adjusting the cut-off scores to 2 improved sensitivity to 82% for children and 92% for parents, with negative predictive values of 92% and 96%, respectively.
Conclusions
With adjusted cut-off scores, the STEPP performed well: 82% of the children and 92% of the parents with a subsequent positive diagnosis were identified correctly. Special attention in the screening procedure is required because of a high rate of false positives. The STEPP appears to be a valid and useful instrument that can be used in the Netherlands as a first screening method in stepped psychotrauma care following accidents.
doi:10.1186/s12888-015-0492-z
PMCID: PMC4432974  PMID: 25963994
Posttraumatic stress disorder; Accident; Children; Adolescents; Screening; STEPP
3.  A cluster randomized trial for the implementation of an antibiotic checklist based on validated quality indicators: the AB-checklist 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:134.
Background
Recently we developed and validated generic quality indicators that define ‘appropriate antibiotic use’ in hospitalized adults treated for a (suspected) bacterial infection. Previous studies have shown that with appropriate antibiotic use a reduction of 13% of length of hospital stay can be achieved. Our main objective in this project is to provide hospitals with an antibiotic checklist based on these quality indicators, and to evaluate the introduction of this checklist in terms of (cost-) effectiveness.
Methods/Design
The checklist applies to hospitalized adults with a suspected bacterial infection for whom antibiotic therapy is initiated, at first via the intravenous route. A stepped wedge study design will be used, comparing outcomes before and after introduction of the checklist in nine hospitals in the Netherlands. At least 810 patients will be included in both the control and the intervention group. The primary endpoint is length of hospital stay. Secondary endpoints are appropriate antibiotic use measured by the quality indicators, admission to and duration of intensive care unit stay, readmission within 30 days, mortality, total antibiotic use, and costs associated with implementation and hospital stay. Differences in numerical endpoints between the two periods will be evaluated with mixed linear models; for dichotomous outcomes generalized estimating equation models will be used. A process evaluation will be performed to evaluate the professionals’ compliance with use of the checklist. The key question for the economic evaluation is whether the benefits of the checklist, which include reduced antibiotic use, reduced length of stay and associated costs, justify the costs associated with implementation activities as well as daily use of the checklist.
Discussion
If (cost-) effective, the AB-checklist will provide physicians with a tool to support appropriate antibiotic use in adult hospitalized patients who start with intravenous antibiotics.
Trial registration
Dutch trial registry: NTR4872
doi:10.1186/s12879-015-0867-2
PMCID: PMC4369057  PMID: 25888180
Checklist; Antibiotics; Implementation; Quality indicators; Stepped-wedge design
4.  Comparing short to standard duration of antibiotic therapy for patients hospitalized with cellulitis (DANCE): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:235.
Background
Recommended therapy duration for patients hospitalized with cellulitis is 10–14 days. Unnecessary use of antibiotics is one of the key factors driving resistance. Recent studies have shown that antibiotic therapy for cellulitis in outpatients can safely be shortened, despite residual inflammation. This study will compare in hospitalized patients the safety and effectiveness of shortening antibiotic therapy for cellulitis from 12 to 6 days.
Methods/design
In a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, non-inferiority trial, adult patients admitted with cellulitis will be included. Cellulitis is defined as warmth, erythema, and induration of the skin and/or subcutaneous tissue, with or without pain (including erysipelas). All patients will initially be treated with intravenous flucloxacillin, and will be evaluated after 5–6 days. Those who have improved substantially (defined as being afebrile, and having a lower cellulitis severity score) will be randomized at day 6 between additional 6 days of oral flucloxacillin (n = 198) or placebo (n = 198). Treatment success is defined as resolution of cellulitis on day 14 (disappearance of warmth and tenderness, improvement of erythema and edema), without the need of additional antibiotics for cellulitis by day 28. Secondary endpoints are relapse rate (up to day 90), speed of recovery (using a cellulitis severity score until day 28, and VAS scores on pain and swelling until day 90), quality of life (using the SF-36 and EQ-5D questionnaires) and costs (associated with total antibiotic use and health-care resource utilization up to day 90).
Discussion
Inclusion is planned to start in Q2 2014.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02032654) and the Netherlands Trial Register (NTR4360).
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-235
PMCID: PMC4016641  PMID: 24885384
Cellulitis; Erysipelas; Skin infections; Antibiotics; Flucloxacillin; Therapy duration; Hospital setting; Randomised controlled trial
5.  Nifedipine versus atosiban in the treatment of threatened preterm labour (Assessment of Perinatal Outcome after Specific Tocolysis in Early Labour: APOSTEL III-Trial) 
Background
Preterm birth is the most common cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Postponing delivery for 48 hours with tocolytics to allow for maternal steroid administration and antenatal transportation to a centre with neonatal intensive care unit facilities is the standard treatment for women with threatening preterm delivery in most centres. However, there is controversy as to which tocolytic agent is the drug of first choice. Previous trials have focused on tocolytic efficacy and side effects, and are probably underpowered to detect clinically meaningfull differences in neonatal outcome. Thus, the current evidence is inconclusive to support a balanced recommendation for clinical practice. This multicenter randomised clinical trial aims to compare nifedipine and atosiban in terms of neonatal outcome, duration of pregnancy and maternal side effects.
Methods/Design
The Apostel III trial is a nationwide multicenter randomised controlled study. Women with threatened preterm labour (gestational age 25 – 34 weeks) defined as at least 3 contractions per 30 minutes, and 1) a cervical length of ≤ 10 mm or 2) a cervical length of 11-30 mm and a positive Fibronectin test or 3) ruptured membranes will be randomly allocated to treatment with nifedipine or atosiban. Primary outcome is a composite measure of severe neonatal morbidity and mortality. Secondary outcomes will be time to delivery, gestational age at delivery, days on ventilation support, neonatal intensive care (NICU) admittance, length admission in neonatal intensive care, total days in hospital until 3 months corrected age, convulsions, apnoea, asphyxia, proven meningitis, pneumothorax, maternal side effects and costs. Furthermore, an economic evaluation of the treatment will be performed. Analysis will be by intention to treat principle. The power calculation is based on an expected 10% difference in the prevalence of adverse neonatal outcome. This implies that 500 women have to be randomised (two sided test, β 0.2 at alpha 0.05).
Discussion
This trial will provide evidence on the optimal drug of choice in acute tocolysis in threatening preterm labour.
Trial registration
Clinical trial registration: NTR2947, date of registration: June 20th 2011.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-93
PMCID: PMC3944539  PMID: 24589124
Preterm birth; Tocolytics; Nifedipine; Atosiban; Outcome; Drug safety
6.  The influence of medical testing on patients’ health: an overview from the gynecologists’ perspective 
Background
A medical tests may influence the health of patients by guiding clinical decisions, such as treatment in case of a positive test result. However, a medical test can influence the health of patients through other mechanisms as well, like giving reassurance. To make a clinical recommendation about a medical test, we should be aware of the full range of effects of that test on patients. This requires an understanding of the range of effects that medical testing can have on patients. This study evaluates the mechanisms through which medical testing can influence patients’ health, other than the effect on clinical management, from a gynecologist’s perspective.
Methods
A qualitative study in which explorative focus groups were conducted with gynecologists, gynecological residents and gynecological M.D. researchers (n = 43). Discussions were transcribed verbatim. Transcriptions were coded inductively and analyzed by three researchers.
Results
All participants contributed various clinical examples in which medical testing had influenced patients’ health. Clinical examples illustrated that testing, in itself or in interaction with contextual factors, may provoke a wide range of effects on patients. Our data showed that testing can influence the doctor’s perceptions of the patients’ appraisal of their illness, their perceived control, or the doctor-patient relationship. This may lead to changes in psychological, behavioral, and/or medical outcomes, both favorably or unfavorably. The data were used to construct a conceptual framework of effects of medical testing on patients.
Conclusions
Besides supporting clinical decision making, medical testing may have favorable or unfavorable effects on patients’ health though several mechanisms.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-13-117
PMCID: PMC3842635  PMID: 24106969
Test evaluation; Patient outcomes; Diagnostic test; Methodology; Qualitative research
7.  What makes a life event traumatic for a child? The predictive values of DSM-Criteria A1 and A2 
European Journal of Psychotraumatology  2013;4:10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.20436.
Background
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-Criteria A1 and A2 for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been discussed extensively, with several studies in adults or adolescents supporting the removal of Criterion A2. However, solid research in children is missing.
Objective
This study evaluated the DSM-Criteria A1 and A2 in predicting posttraumatic stress in children.
Method
A sample of 588 Dutch school children, aged 8–18 years, completed a self-report questionnaire to determine if they met Criteria A1 and/or A2. Their posttraumatic stress response was assessed using the Children's Revised Impact of Event Scale.
Results
The contribution of Criterion A2 to the prediction of posttraumatic stress in children is of greater importance than the contribution of Criterion A1. Children who met Criterion A2 reported significantly higher levels of posttraumatic stress and were nine times more likely to develop probable PTSD than children who did not meet Criterion A2. When Criterion A1 was met, a child was only two times more likely to develop probable PTSD as compared with those where Criterion A1 was not met. Furthermore, the low sensitivity of Criterion A1 suggests that children may regularly develop severe posttraumatic stress in the absence of Criterion A1. The remarkably high negative predictive value of Criterion A2 indicates that if a child does not have a subjective reaction during an event that it is unlikely that he or she will develop PTSD.
Conclusions
In contrast to most adult studies, the findings of this study emphasize the significant contribution of Criterion A2 to the prediction of posttraumatic stress in children and raise fundamental questions about the value of the current Criterion A1.
doi:10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.20436
PMCID: PMC3750195  PMID: 23977424
posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); trauma; diagnosis; stressor criterion; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual; classification; assessment; DSM-5
8.  Surgical versus expectant management in women with an incomplete evacuation of the uterus after treatment with misoprostol for miscarriage: the MisoREST trial 
Background
Medical treatment with misoprostol is a non-invasive and inexpensive treatment option in first trimester miscarriage. However, about 30% of women treated with misoprostol have incomplete evacuation of the uterus. Despite being relatively asymptomatic in most cases, this finding often leads to additional surgical treatment (curettage). A comparison of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of surgical management versus expectant management is lacking in women with incomplete miscarriage after misoprostol.
Methods/Design
The proposed study is a multicentre randomized controlled trial that assesses the costs and effects of curettage versus expectant management in women with incomplete evacuation of the uterus after misoprostol treatment for first trimester miscarriage.
Eligible women will be randomized, after informed consent, within 24 hours after identification of incomplete evacuation of the uterus by ultrasound scanning. Women are randomly allocated to surgical or expectant management. Curettage is performed within three days after randomization.
Primary outcome is the sonographic finding of an empty uterus (maximal diameter of any contents of the uterine cavity < 10 millimeters) six weeks after study entry. Secondary outcomes are patients’ quality of life, surgical outcome parameters, the type and number of re-interventions during the first three months and pregnancy rates and outcome 12 months after study entry.
Discussion
This trial will provide evidence for the (cost) effectiveness of surgical versus expectant management in women with incomplete evacuation of the uterus after misoprostol treatment for first trimester miscarriage.
Trial registration
Dutch Trial Register: NTR3110
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-102
PMCID: PMC3648386  PMID: 23638956
Curettage; Expectant management; Incomplete evacuation; Miscarriage; Misoprostol
9.  Comparison of the effectiveness of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy and paroxetine treatment in PTSD patients: Design of a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Psychiatry  2012;12:166.
Background
The two most common interventions for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are pharmacological treatment with SSRIs such as paroxetine and psychological treatment such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). International guidelines recommend trauma-focused psychological interventions for all PTSD patients as first-line treatment (NICE). However, no clear-cut evidence is available to support this recommendation.
Methods/design
In order to compare pharmacological treatment (paroxetine) and psychological treatment (TF-CBT) in (cost-) effectiveness on the short and the long term, we will randomize 90 patients with chronic PTSD to either paroxetine (24 weeks) or TF-CBT (10–12 weeks). We will assess symptom severity and costs before and after the intervention with the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), the Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI) and the Trimbos/iMTA questionnaire for Costs associated with Psychiatric Illness (TiC-P).
Discussion
This study is unique for its direct comparison of the most commonly used psychological intervention (TF-CBT) and pharmacological intervention (paroxetine) on (cost-) effectiveness on the short and the long term. The anticipated results will provide relevant evidence concerning long-term effects and relapse rates and will be beneficial in reducing societal costs. It may also provide information on who may benefit most from which type of intervention. Some methodological issues will be discussed.
Trial Registration
Dutch Trial registration: NTR2235
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-166
PMCID: PMC3539952  PMID: 23046608
PTSD; TF-CBT; Paroxetine; Effectiveness; Cost-effectiveness
10.  Induction of Labor versus Expectant Management in Women with Preterm Prelabor Rupture of Membranes between 34 and 37 Weeks: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(4):e1001208.
In a randomized controlled trial David van der Ham and colleagues investigate induction of labor versus expectant management for women with preterm prelabor rupture of membranes.
Background
At present, there is insufficient evidence to guide appropriate management of women with preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PPROM) near term.
Methods and Findings
We conducted an open-label randomized controlled trial in 60 hospitals in The Netherlands, which included non-laboring women with >24 h of PPROM between 34+0 and 37+0 wk of gestation. Participants were randomly allocated in a 1∶1 ratio to induction of labor (IoL) or expectant management (EM) using block randomization. The main outcome was neonatal sepsis. Secondary outcomes included mode of delivery, respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), and chorioamnionitis. Patients and caregivers were not blinded to randomization status. We updated a prior meta-analysis on the effect of both interventions on neonatal sepsis, RDS, and cesarean section rate.
From 1 January 2007 to 9 September 2009, 776 patients in 60 hospitals were eligible for the study, of which 536 patients were randomized. Four patients were excluded after randomization. We allocated 266 women (268 neonates) to IoL and 266 women (270 neonates) to EM. Neonatal sepsis occurred in seven (2.6%) newborns of women in the IoL group and in 11 (4.1%) neonates in the EM group (relative risk [RR] 0.64; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.25 to 1.6). RDS was seen in 21 (7.8%, IoL) versus 17 neonates (6.3%, EM) (RR 1.3; 95% CI 0.67 to 2.3), and a cesarean section was performed in 36 (13%, IoL) versus 37 (14%, EM) women (RR 0.98; 95% CI 0.64 to 1.50). The risk for chorioamnionitis was reduced in the IoL group. No serious adverse events were reported.
Updating an existing meta-analysis with our trial results (the only eligible trial for the update) indicated RRs of 1.06 (95% CI 0.64 to 1.76) for neonatal sepsis (eight trials, 1,230 neonates) and 1.27 (95% CI 0.98 to 1.65) for cesarean section (eight trials, 1,222 women) for IoL compared with EM.
Conclusions
In women whose pregnancy is complicated by late PPROM, neither our trial nor the updated meta-analysis indicates that IoL substantially improves pregnancy outcomes compared with EM.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN29313500
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Most pregnancies last around 40 weeks, but in industrialized countries, 5%–10% of babies are born before 37 weeks of gestation (gestation is the period during which a baby develops in its mother's womb). Premature birth is a major cause of infant death in many developed countries, and preterm babies can also have short- and/or long-term health problems such as breathing problems, increased susceptibility to life-threatening infections, and learning and developmental disabilities. There are many reasons why some babies are born prematurely, but preterm prelabor rupture of the membranes (PPROM) accounts for 30%–40% of preterm deliveries. Inside the womb, the baby is held in a fluid-filled bag called the amniotic sac. The amniotic fluid cushions the baby, helps some of its organs develop, and protects both mother and baby from infection. The membranes that form the sac usually break at the start of labor (“water breaking”), but in PPROM, the membranes break before the baby is fully grown. PPROM increases the mother's risk of a womb infection called chorioamnionitis and the baby's risk of neonatal sepsis (blood infection), and can trigger early labor.
Why Was This Study Done?
There is currently no consensus on how to manage women whose membranes rupture between 34 and 37 weeks' gestation. Some guidelines recommend immediate induction of labor if PPROM occurs at or beyond 34 weeks' gestation. Others recommend that labor not be induced unless the mother develops signs of infection such as a high temperature or has not delivered her baby spontaneously by 37 weeks' gestation (expectant management). Before 34 weeks' gestation, expectant management is generally recommended. In this randomized controlled trial, the researchers compare the effects of induction of labor and of expectant management on the rate of neonatal sepsis (the proportion of babies that develop neonatal sepsis; the trial's primary outcome) and on secondary outcomes such as the rates of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), cesarean section (surgical delivery), and chorioamnionitis in women with PPROM between 34 and 37 weeks' gestation. The researchers also undertake a meta-analysis of published trials on the effect of both interventions on pregnancy outcomes. A randomized controlled trial compares the effects of different interventions in groups of individuals chosen through the play of chance; meta-analysis is a statistical approach that combines the results of several trials.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In the PPROM Expectant Management versus Induction of Labor (PRROMEXIL) trial, 532 non-laboring women with PPROM between 34 and 37 weeks' gestation were randomly assigned to either immediate induction of labor or expectant management. Neonatal sepsis occurred in seven babies born to women in the induction of labor group and in 11 babies born to women in the expectant management group. This difference was not statistically significant. That is, it could have happened by chance. Similarly, although more babies born to women in the induction of labor group than in the expectant management group developed RDS (21 and 17 babies, respectively), this difference was not significant. Cesarean section rates were similar in both intervention groups, but the risk of chorioamnionitis was slightly reduced in the induction of labor group compared to the expectant management group. Finally, the researchers' meta-analysis (which included these new results) found no significant differences in the risk of neonatal sepsis, RDS, or cesarean section associated with the two interventions.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that, compared to expectant management, induction of labor did not reduce the incidence of neonatal sepsis in pregnancies complicated by PPROM between 34 and 37 weeks' gestation. However, because fewer babies than expected born to the women in the expectant management group developed neonatal sepsis, this trial was underpowered. That is, too few women were enrolled in the trial to enable the detection of a small difference between the interventions in the neonatal sepsis rate. These findings also show that induction of labor did not substantially affect most of the secondary outcomes measured by the researchers. Given these results and those of their meta-analysis, the researchers conclude that, in women whose pregnancy is complicated by PPROM late in pregnancy, induction of labor does not substantially improve the outcome for either the woman or her baby compared to expectant management.
Additional Information
Please access these web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001208.
The March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health, provides information on preterm birth (in English and Spanish); its News Moms Need blog contains a post on PPROM
Tommy's is a nonprofit organization that funds research and provides information on the causes and prevention of miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guidelines on the diagnosis, investigation, and management of PPROM are available (in English and Russian)
Information about the PPROMEXIL trial is available
Personal stories about PPROM are available on the Austprem web site, a non-profit organization that provides information about prematurity and support for parents of premature babies in Australia
MedlinePlus provides links to other information on premature babies (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001208
PMCID: PMC3335867  PMID: 22545024
11.  Laparoscopy to predict the result of primary cytoreductive surgery in advanced ovarian cancer patients (LapOvCa-trial): a multicentre randomized controlled study 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:31.
Background
Standard treatment of advanced ovarian cancer is surgery and chemotherapy. The goal of surgery is to remove all macroscopic tumour, as the amount of residual tumour is the most important prognostic factor for survival. When removal off all tumour is considered not feasible, neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) in combination with interval debulking surgery (IDS) is performed. Current methods of staging are not always accurate in predicting surgical outcome, since approximately 40% of patients will have more than 1 cm residual tumour after primary debulking surgery (PDS). In this study we aim to assess whether adding laparoscopy to the diagnostic work-up of patients suspected of advanced ovarian carcinoma may prevent unsuccessful primary debulking surgery for ovarian cancer.
Methods
Multicentre randomized controlled trial, including all gynaecologic oncologic centres in the Netherlands and their affiliated hospitals. Patients are eligible when they are planned for PDS after conventional staging. Participants are randomized between direct PDS or additional diagnostic laparoscopy. Depending on the result of laparoscopy patients are treated by PDS within three weeks, followed by six courses of platinum based chemotherapy or with NACT and IDS 3-4 weeks after three courses of chemotherapy, followed by another three courses of chemotherapy. Primary outcome measure is the proportion of PDS's leaving more than one centimetre tumour residual in each arm. In total 200 patients will be randomized. Data will be analysed according to intention to treat.
Discussion
Patients who have disease considered to be resectable to less than one centimetre should undergo PDS to improve prognosis. However, there is a need for better diagnostic procedures because the current number of debulking surgeries leaving more than one centimetre residual tumour is still high. Laparoscopy before starting treatment for ovarian cancer can be an additional diagnostic tool to predict the outcome of PDS. Despite the absence of strong evidence and despite the possible complications, laparoscopy is already implemented in many countries. We propose a randomized multicentre trial to provide evidence on the effectiveness of laparoscopy before primary surgery for advanced stage ovarian cancer patients.
Trial registration
Netherlands Trial Register number NTR2644
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-31
PMCID: PMC3292486  PMID: 22264278
12.  Additional effects of the cervical length measurement in women with preterm contractions: a systematic review 
Purpose
Transvaginal cervical length measurement in women with symptoms of preterm labor has been used to decide if treatment is necessary. Cervical length measurement may also have additional effects on patients, such as providing reassurance, although the evidence to support this is unclear. We explored and summarized to what extent additional effects of cervical length measurement in women with threatened preterm labor have been reported in the clinical literature and what the magnitude of these effects was.
Methods
We performed a systematic review of the literature to identify articles reporting on cervical length measurements in women with symptoms of preterm labor. We assessed whether these articles reported patient outcomes other than preterm delivery.
Results
The electronic and hand search resulted in 764 articles, of which 172 met initial criteria for further eligibility assessment. We found 12 articles that reported additional effects of cervical length measurement in symptomatic women, such as the reassurance or the sensory consequences related to the transvaginal procedure. None of the articles quantified such additional effects.
Conclusions
There appears to be a gap between the presumed effects of cervical length measurement on patient outcomes, such as patients’ reassurance, and the actual assessment of these effects during test evaluations. We suggest that future evaluations of prognostic preterm labor tests include a comprehensive assessment of patient outcomes.
doi:10.1007/s00404-011-1892-z
PMCID: PMC3155022  PMID: 21484403
Cervical length; Preterm labor; Diagnostic test; Methodology; Reassurance; Patient perspective
13.  IMproving PArticipation of patients in Clinical Trials - rationale and design of IMPACT 
Background
One of the most commonly reported problems of randomised trials is that recruitment is usually slower than expected. Trials will cost more and take longer, thus delaying the use of the results in clinical practice, and incomplete samples imply decreased statistical power and usefulness of its results. We aim to identify barriers and facilitators for successful patient recruitment at the level of the patient, the doctor and the hospital organization as well as the organization and design of trials over a broad range of studies.
Methods/design
We will perform two cohort studies and a case-control study in the Netherlands. The first cohort study will report on a series of multicenter trials performed in a nationwide network of clinical trials in obstetrics and gynaecology. A questionnaire will be sent to all clinicians recruiting for these trials to identify determinants - aggregated at centre level - for the recruitment rate. In a case control-study nested in this cohort we will interview patients who refused or consented participation to identify factors associated with patients' consent or refusal. In a second cohort study, we will study trials that were prospectively registered in the Netherlands Trial Register. Using a questionnaire survey we will assess whether issues on hospital organization, trial organization, planning and trial design were associated with successful recruitment, i.e. 80% of the predefined number of patients recruited within the planned time.
Discussion
This study will provide insight in barriers and facilitators for successful patient recruitment in trials. The results will be used to provide recommendations and a checklist for individual trialists to identify potential pitfalls for recruitment and judge the feasibility prior to the start of the study. Identified barriers and motivators coupled to evidence-based interventions can improve recruitment of patients in clinical trials.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-10-85
PMCID: PMC2955658  PMID: 20875119
14.  Long-term health-related and economic consequences of short-term outcomes in evaluation of perinatal interventions 
Background
Many perinatal interventions are performed to improve long-term neonatal outcome. To evaluate the long-term effect of a perinatal intervention follow-up of the child after discharge from the hospital is necessary because serious sequelae from perinatal complications frequently manifest themselves only after several years. However, long-term follow-up is time-consuming, is not in the awareness of obstetricians, is expensive and falls outside the funding-period of most obstetric studies. Consequently, short-term outcomes are often reported instead of the primary long-term end-point. With this project, we will assess the current state of affairs concerning follow-up after obstetric RCTs and we will develop multivariable prediction models for different long-term health outcomes. Furthermore, we would like to encourage other researchers participating in follow-up studies after large obstetric trials (> 350 women) to inform us about their studies so that we can include their follow-up study in our systematic review. We would invite these researchers also to join our effort and to collaborate with us on the external validation of our prediction models.
Methods/Design
A systematic review of neonatal follow-up after obstetric studies will be performed. All reviews of the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth group will be assessed for reviews on interventions that aimed to improve neonatal outcome. Reviews on interventions primary looking at other aspects than neonatal outcome such as labour progress will also be included when these interventions can change the outcome of the neonate on the short or long-term. Our review will be limited to RCTs with more than 350 women. Information that will be extracted from these RCTs will address whether, how and for how long follow-up has been performed. However, in many cases long-term follow-up of the infants will not be feasible. An alternative solution to limited follow-up could be to develop prediction models to estimate long-term health outcomes of the newborn based on specific perinatal outcomes and other covariates. For the development of multivariable prediction models for several health outcomes, we will use data available from a Dutch cohort study of preterm (< 32 weeks) and/or small for gestational age infants (< 1500 g). These infants were born in The Netherlands in 1983 and followed until they reached the age of 19.
Discussion
The systematic review will provide insight in the extent and methods used for follow-up assessments after obstetric RCTs in the past. The prediction models can be used by future studies to extrapolate short-term outcomes to a long-term horizon or to indicate for which neonates long-term follow-up is required, as their outcomes (either absence or presence of sequelae) cannot be adequately predicted from short-term outcomes and clinical background characteristics.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-42
PMCID: PMC2928175  PMID: 20698963
15.  Costs of relaparotomy on-demand versus planned relaparotomy in patients with severe peritonitis: an economic evaluation within a randomized controlled trial 
Critical Care  2010;14(3):R97.
Introduction
Results of the first randomized trial comparing on-demand versus planned-relaparotomy strategy in patients with severe peritonitis (RELAP trial) indicated no clear differences in primary outcomes. We now report the full economic evaluation for this trial, including detailed methods, nonmedical costs, further differentiated cost calculations, and robustness of different assumptions in sensitivity analyses.
Methods
An economic evaluation was conducted from a societal perspective alongside a randomized controlled trial in 229 patients with severe secondary peritonitis and an acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (APACHE)-II score ≥11 from two academic and five regional teaching hospitals in the Netherlands. After the index laparotomy, patients were randomly allocated to an on-demand or a planned-relaparotomy strategy. Primary resource-utilization data were used to estimate mean total costs per patient during the index admission and after discharge until 1 year after the index operation. Overall differences in costs between the on-demand relaparotomy strategy and the planned strategy, as well as relative differences across several clinical subgroups, were evaluated.
Results
Costs were substantially lower in the on-demand group (mean, €65,768 versus €83,450 per patient in the planned group; mean absolute difference, €17,682; 95% CI, €5,062 to €29,004). Relative differences in mean total costs per patient (approximately 21%) were robust to various alternative assumptions. Planned relaparotomy consistently generated more costs across the whole range of different courses of disease (quick recovery and few resources used on one end of the spectrum; slow recovery and many resources used on the other end). This difference in costs between the two surgical strategies also did not vary significantly across several clinical subgroups.
Conclusions
The reduction in societal costs renders the on-demand strategy a more-efficient relaparotomy strategy in patients with severe peritonitis. These differences were found across the full range of healthcare resources as well as across patients with different courses of disease.
Trial Registration
ISRCTN51729393
doi:10.1186/cc9032
PMCID: PMC2911734  PMID: 20507557
16.  Implementation of the external cephalic version in breech delivery. Dutch national implementation study of external cephalic version 
Background
Breech presentation occurs in 3 to 4% of all term pregnancies. External cephalic version (ECV) is proven effective to prevent vaginal breech deliveries and therefore it is recommended by clinical guidelines of the Royal Dutch Organisation for Midwives (KNOV) and the Dutch Society for Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG). Implementation of ECV does not exceed 50 to 60% and probably less.
We aim to improve the implementation of ECV to decrease maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality due to breech presentations. This will be done by defining barriers and facilitators of implementation of ECV in the Netherlands. An innovative implementation strategy will be developed based on improved patient counselling and thorough instructions of health care providers for counselling.
Method/design
The ultimate purpose of this implementation study is to improve counselling of pregnant women and information of clinicians to realize a better implementation of ECV.
The first phase of the project is to detect the barriers and facilitators of ECV. The next step is to develop an implementation strategy to inform and counsel pregnant women with a breech presentation, and to inform and educate care providers. In the third phase, the effectiveness of the developed implementation strategy will be evaluated in a randomised trial. The study population is a random selection of midwives and gynaecologists from 60 to 100 hospitals and practices. Primary endpoints are number of counselled women. Secondary endpoints are process indicators, the amount of fetes in cephalic presentation at birth, complications due to ECV, the number of caesarean sections and perinatal condition of mother and child. Cost effectiveness of the implementation strategy will be measured.
Discussion
This study will provide evidence for the cost effectiveness of a structural implementation of external cephalic versions to reduce the number of breech presentations at term.
Trial Registration
Dutch Trial Register (NTR): 1878
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-20
PMCID: PMC2874762  PMID: 20459717
17.  Pneumonia Recovery; Discrepancies in Perspectives of the Radiologist, Physician and Patient 
BACKGROUND
Chest radiographs are often used to diagnose community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), to monitor response to treatment and to ensure complete resolution of pneumonia. However, radiological exams may not reflect the actual clinical condition of the patient.
OBJECTIVE
To compare the radiographic resolution of mild to moderately severe CAP to resolution of clinical symptoms as assessed by the physician or rated by the patient.
DESIGN
Prospective cohort study.
PARTICIPANTS
One hundred nineteen patients admitted because of mild to moderately severe CAP with new pulmonary opacities.
MAIN MEASURES
Radiographic resolution and clinical cure of CAP were determined at day 10 and 28. Radiographic resolution was defined as the absence of infection-related abnormalities; clinical cure was rated by the physician and defined by improvement of signs and symptoms. In addition, the CAP score, a patient-based symptom score, was calculated.
KEY RESULTS
Radiographic resolution, clinical cure and normalization of the CAP score were observed in 30.8%, 93% and 32% of patients at day 10, and in 68.4%, 88.9% and 41.7% at day 28, respectively. More severe CAP (PSI score >90) was independently associated with delayed radiographic resolution at day 28 (OR 4.7, 95% CI 1.3–16.9). All 12 patients with deterioration of radiographic findings during follow-up had clinical evidence of treatment failure.
CONCLUSIONS
In mild to moderately severe CAP, resolution of radiographic abnormalities and resolution of symptoms scored by the patient lag behind clinical cure assessed by physicians. Monitoring a favorable disease process by routine follow-up chest radiographs seems to have no additional value above following a patient's clinical course.
doi:10.1007/s11606-009-1182-7
PMCID: PMC2839328  PMID: 19967464
community-acquired pneumonia; chest radiography; clinical cure; patients’ perspective; radiology
18.  Assessment of perinatal outcome after sustained tocolysis in early labour (APOSTEL-II trial) 
Background
Preterm labour is the main cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality in the Western world. At present, there is evidence that tocolysis for 48 hours is useful in women with threatened preterm labour at least before 32 weeks. This allows transfer of the patient to a perinatal centre, and maximizes the effect of corticosteroids for improved neonatal survival. It is questionable whether treatment with tocolytics should be maintained after 48 hours.
Methods/Design
The APOSTEL II trial is a multicentre placebo-controlled study. Pregnant women admitted for threatened preterm labour who have been treated with 48 hours corticosteroids and tocolysis will be eligible to participate in the trial between 26+0 and 32+2 weeks gestational age. They will be randomly allocated to nifedipine (intervention) or placebo (control) for twelve days or until delivery, whatever comes first.
Primary outcome is a composite of perinatal death, and severe neonatal morbidity up to evaluation at 6 months after birth. Secondary outcomes are gestational age at delivery, number of days in neonatal intensive care and total days of the first 6 months out of hospital. In addition a cost-effectiveness analysis will be performed. Analysis will be by intention to treat. The power calculation is based on an expected 11% difference in adverse neonatal outcome. This implies that 406 women have to be randomised (two sided test, β 0.2 at alpha 0.05).
Discussion
This trial will provide evidence as to whether maintenance tocolysis reduces severe perinatal morbidity and mortality in women with threatened preterm labour before 32 weeks.
Trial Registration
Clinical trial registration: , NTR 1336, date of registration: June 3rd 2008.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-9-42
PMCID: PMC2754432  PMID: 19737426
19.  Cost-effectiveness of fibronectin testing in a triage in women with threatened preterm labor: alleviation of pregnancy outcome by suspending tocolysis in early labor (APOSTEL-I trial) 
Background
At present, women with threatened preterm labor before 32 weeks of gestation are, after transfer to a perinatal center, treated with tocolytics and corticosteroids. Many of these women are treated unnecessarily. Fibronectin is an accurate predictor for the occurrence of preterm birth among women with threatened preterm labor. We will assess whether triage of these women with fibronectin testing, cervical length or their combination is cost-effective.
Methods/Design
We will investigate a prospective cohort of women referred to a perinatal centre for spontaneous threatened preterm labor between 24 and 34 weeks with intact membranes. All women will be tested for fibronectin and cervical length. Women with a cervical length <10 mm and women with a cervical length between 10-30 mm in combination with a positive fibronectin test will be treated with tocolytics according to local protocol. Women with a cervical length between 10-30 mm in combination with a negative fibronectin test will be randomised between treatment with nifedipine (intervention) and placebo (control) for 48 hours. Women with a cervical length > 30 mm will be managed according to local protocol. Corticosteroids may be given to all women at the discretion of the attending physician. Primary outcome measure will be delivery within 7 days. Secondary outcome measures will be neonatal morbidity and mortality, complications of tocolytics, costs and health related quality of life. The analysis will be according to the intention to treat principle. We anticipate the probability on preterm birth within 7 days in the group of women with a negative fibronectine test to be 5%. Two groups of 110 women will be needed to assure that in case of non-inferiority the difference in the proportion of preterm deliveries < 7 days will be within a prespecified boundary of 7.5% (one sided test, β 0.2, α 0.05). Data obtained from women with a positive and negative fibronectin tests in both the cohort study and the trial will be integrated in a cost-effectiveness analysis that will assess economic consequences of the use of fibronectin.
Discussion
This study will provide evidence for the use of fibronectin testing as safe and cost-effective method in a triage for threatened preterm labor.
Trial registration
Nederlands Trial Register (NTR) number 1857, .
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-9-38
PMCID: PMC2752451  PMID: 19723320
20.  Individual patient data meta-analysis of diagnostic and prognostic studies in obstetrics, gynaecology and reproductive medicine 
Background
In clinical practice a diagnosis is based on a combination of clinical history, physical examination and additional diagnostic tests. At present, studies on diagnostic research often report the accuracy of tests without taking into account the information already known from history and examination. Due to this lack of information, together with variations in design and quality of studies, conventional meta-analyses based on these studies will not show the accuracy of the tests in real practice. By using individual patient data (IPD) to perform meta-analyses, the accuracy of tests can be assessed in relation to other patient characteristics and allows the development or evaluation of diagnostic algorithms for individual patients.
In this study we will examine these potential benefits in four clinical diagnostic problems in the field of gynaecology, obstetrics and reproductive medicine.
Methods/design
Based on earlier systematic reviews for each of the four clinical problems, studies are considered for inclusion. The first authors of the included studies will be invited to participate and share their original data. After assessment of validity and completeness the acquired datasets are merged. Based on these data, a series of analyses will be performed, including a systematic comparison of the results of the IPD meta-analysis with those of a conventional meta-analysis, development of multivariable models for clinical history alone and for the combination of history, physical examination and relevant diagnostic tests and development of clinical prediction rules for the individual patients. These will be made accessible for clinicians.
Discussion
The use of IPD meta-analysis will allow evaluating accuracy of diagnostic tests in relation to other relevant information. Ultimately, this could increase the efficiency of the diagnostic work-up, e.g. by reducing the need for invasive tests and/or improving the accuracy of the diagnostic workup. This study will assess whether these benefits of IPD meta-analysis over conventional meta-analysis can be exploited and will provide a framework for future IPD meta-analyses in diagnostic and prognostic research.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-9-22
PMCID: PMC2667527  PMID: 19327146
21.  Women’s preference for laparoscopic or abdominal hysterectomy 
Gynecological Surgery  2008;6(3):223-228.
In the present study, women’s preferences on advantages and disadvantages of laparoscopic hysterectomy (LH) and abdominal hysterectomy (AH) have been studied. Patients’ preferences were evaluated in individual, structured interviews in women scheduled for hysterectomy and questionnaires in nurses. Forty-three patients and 39 nurses were included. After general information, 84% of patients and 74% of nurses preferred LH over AH. This preference did not change after supplying more detailed information or after hysterectomy. The avoidance of complications was indicated as the most important factor in the decision. More than half of the women evaluated a difference of 1% as the maximum acceptable risk of major complications. When confronted with scenarios based on current evidence, both patients and nurses prefer LH over AH. This study supports further implementation of LH in clinical practice. The actual major complication rate in hysterectomy, however, is perceived as high.
doi:10.1007/s10397-008-0455-1
PMCID: PMC2837244  PMID: 20234838
Patients’ preference; Laparoscopic hysterectomy; Abdominal hysterectomy; Interview; Questionnaire
22.  Induction of labour versus expectant management in women with preterm prelabour rupture of membranes between 34 and 37 weeks (the PPROMEXIL-trial) 
Background
Preterm prelabour rupture of the membranes (PPROM) is an important clinical problem and a dilemma for the gynaecologist. On the one hand, awaiting spontaneous labour increases the probability of infectious disease for both mother and child, whereas on the other hand induction of labour leads to preterm birth with an increase in neonatal morbidity (e.g., respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)) and a possible rise in the number of instrumental deliveries.
Methods/Design
We aim to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of immediate delivery after PPROM in near term gestation compared to expectant management. Pregnant women with preterm prelabour rupture of the membranes at a gestational age from 34+0 weeks until 37+0 weeks will be included in a multicentre prospective randomised controlled trial. We will compare early delivery with expectant monitoring.
The primary outcome of this study is neonatal sepsis. Secondary outcome measures are maternal morbidity (chorioamnionitis, puerperal sepsis) and neonatal disease, instrumental delivery rate, maternal quality of life, maternal preferences and costs. We anticipate that a reduction of neonatal infection from 7.5% to 2.5% after induction will outweigh an increase in RDS and additional costs due to admission of the child due to prematurity. Under these assumptions, we aim to randomly allocate 520 women to two groups of 260 women each. Analysis will be by intention to treat. Additionally a cost-effectiveness analysis will be performed to evaluate if the cost related to early delivery will outweigh those of expectant management. Long term outcomes will be evaluated using modelling.
Discussion
This trial will provide evidence as to whether induction of labour after preterm prelabour rupture of membranes is an effective and cost-effective strategy to reduce the risk of neonatal sepsis.
Controlled clinical trial register
ISRCTN29313500
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-11
PMCID: PMC1934382  PMID: 17617892
23.  Health related quality of life six months following surgical treatment for secondary peritonitis – using the EQ-5D questionnaire 
Background
To compare health related quality of life (HR-QoL) in patients surgically treated for secondary peritonitis to that of a healthy population. And to prospectively identify factors associated with poorer (lower) HR-QoL.
Design
A prospective cohort of secondary peritonitis patients was mailed the EQ-5D and EQ-VAS 6-months following initial laparotomy.
Setting
Multicenter study in two academic and seven regional teaching hospitals.
Patients
130 of the 155 eligible patients (84%) responded to the HR-QoL questionnaires.
Results
HR-QoL was significantly worse on all dimensions in peritonitis patients than in a healthy reference population. Peritonitis characteristics at initial presentation were not associated with HR-QoL at six months. A more complicated course of the disease leading to longer hospitalization times and patients with an enterostomy had a negative impact on the mobility (p = 0.02), self-care (p < 0.001) and daily activities: (p = 0.01). In a multivariate analysis for the EQ-VAS every doubling of hospital stay decreases the EQ-VAS by 3.8 points (p = 0.015). Morbidity during the six-month follow-up was not found to be predictive for the EQ-5D or EQ-VAS.
Conclusion
Six months following initial surgery, patients with secondary peritonitis report more problems in HR-QoL than a healthy reference population. Unfavorable disease characteristics at initial presentation were not predictive for poorer HR-QoL, but a more complicated course of the disease was most predictive of HR-QoL at 6 months.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-5-35
PMCID: PMC1950493  PMID: 17601343
24.  Effectiveness of discontinuing antibiotic treatment after three days versus eight days in mild to moderate-severe community acquired pneumonia: randomised, double blind study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2006;332(7554):1355.
Objective To compare the effectiveness of discontinuing treatment with amoxicillin after three days or eight days in adults admitted to hospital with mild to moderate-severe community acquired pneumonia who substantially improved after an initial three days' treatment.
Design Randomised, double blind, placebo controlled non-inferiority trial.
Setting Nine secondary and tertiary care hospitals in the Netherlands.
Participants Adults with mild to moderate-severe community acquired pneumonia (pneumonia severity index score ≤ 110).
Interventions Patients who had substantially improved after three days' treatment with intravenous amoxicillin were randomly assigned to oral amoxicillin (n = 63) or placebo (n = 56) three times daily for five days.
Main outcome measures The primary outcome measure was the clinical success rate at day 10. Secondary outcome measures were the clinical success rate at day 28, symptom resolution, radiological success rates at days 10 and 28, and adverse events.
Results Baseline characteristics were comparable, with the exception of symptom severity, which was worse in the three day treatment group. In the three day and eight day treatment groups the clinical success rate at day 10 was 93% for both (difference 0.1%, 95% confidence interval - 9% to 10%) and at day 28 was 90% compared with 88% (difference 2.0%, - 9% to 15%). Both groups had similar resolution of symptoms. Radiological success rates were 86% compared with 83% at day 10 (difference 3%, - 10% to 16%) and 86% compared with 79% at day 28 (difference 6%, - 7% to 20%). Six patients (11%) in the placebo group and 13 patients (21%) in the active treatment group reported adverse events (P = 0.1).
Conclusions Discontinuing amoxicillin treatment after three days is not inferior to discontinuing it after eight days in adults admitted to hospital with mild to moderate-severe community acquired pneumonia who substantially improved after an initial three days' treatment.
PMCID: PMC1479094  PMID: 16763247

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