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1.  Endoscopic sclerotherapy compared with no specific treatment for the primary prevention of bleeding from esophageal varices. A randomized controlled multicentre trial [ISRCTN03215899] 
BMC Gastroenterology  2003;3:22.
Background
Since esophageal variceal bleeding is associated with a high mortality rate, prevention of bleeding might be expected to result in improved survival. The first trials to evaluate prophylactic sclerotherapy found a marked beneficial effect of prophylactic treatment. These results, however, were not generally accepted because of methodological aspects and because the reported incidence of bleeding in control subjects was considered unusually high. The objective of this study was to compare endoscopic sclerotherapy (ES) with nonactive treatment for the primary prophylaxis of esophageal variceal bleeding in patients with cirrhosis.
Methods
166 patients with esophageal varices grade II, III of IV according to Paquet's classification, with evidence of active or progressive liver disease and without prior variceal bleeding, were randomized to groups receiving ES (n = 84) or no specific treatment (n = 82). Primary end-points were incidence of bleeding and mortality; secondary end-points were complications and costs.
Results
During a mean follow-up of 32 months variceal bleeding occurred in 25% of the patients of the ES group and in 28% of the control group. The incidence of variceal bleeding for the ES and control group was 16% and 16% at 1 year and 33% and 29% at 3 years, respectively. The 1-year survival rate was 87% for the ES group and 84% for the control group; the 3-year survival rate was 62% for each group. In the ES group one death occurred as a direct consequence of variceal bleeding compared to 9 in the other group (p = 0.01, log-rank test). Complications were comparable for the two groups. Health care costs for patients assigned to ES were estimated to be higher. Meta-analysis of a large number of trials showed that the effect of prophylactic sclerotherapy is significantly related to the baseline bleeding risk.
Conclusion
In the present trial, prophylactic sclerotherapy did not reduce the incidence of bleeding from varices in patients with liver cirrhosis and a low to moderate bleeding risk. Although sclerotherapy lowered mortality attributable to variceal bleeding, overall survival was not affected. The effect of prophylactic sclerotherapy seems dependent on the underlying bleeding risk. A beneficial effect can only be expected for patients with a high risk for bleeding.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-3-22
PMCID: PMC194733  PMID: 12919638
2.  Laparoscopic ileocolic resection versus infliximab treatment of distal ileitis in Crohn's disease: a randomized multicenter trial (LIR!C-trial) 
BMC Surgery  2008;8:15.
Background
With the availability of infliximab, nowadays recurrent Crohn's disease, defined as disease refractory to immunomodulatory agents that has been treated with steroids, is generally treated with infliximab. Infliximab is an effective but expensive treatment and once started it is unclear when therapy can be discontinued. Surgical resection has been the golden standard in recurrent Crohn's disease. Laparoscopic ileocolic resection proved to be safe and is characterized by a quick symptom reduction.
The objective of this study is to compare infliximab treatment with laparoscopic ileocolic resection in patients with recurrent Crohn's disease of the distal ileum with respect to quality of life and costs.
Methods/design
The study is designed as a multicenter randomized clinical trial including patients with Crohn's disease located in the terminal ileum that require infliximab treatment following recent consensus statements on inflammatory bowel disease treatment: moderate to severe disease activity in patients that fail to respond to steroid therapy or immunomodulatory therapy. Patients will be randomized to receive either infliximab or undergo a laparoscopic ileocolic resection. Primary outcomes are quality of life and costs. Secondary outcomes are hospital stay, early and late morbidity, sick leave and surgical recurrence. In order to detect an effect size of 0.5 on the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire at a 5% two sided significance level with a power of 80%, a sample size of 65 patients per treatment group can be calculated. An economic evaluation will be performed by assessing the marginal direct medical, non-medical and time costs and the costs per Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) will be calculated. For both treatment strategies a cost-utility ratio will be calculated. Patients will be included from December 2007.
Discussion
The LIR!C-trial is a randomized multicenter trial that will provide evidence whether infliximab treatment or surgery is the best treatment for recurrent distal ileitis in Crohn's disease.
Trial registration
Nederlands Trial Register NTR1150
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-8-15
PMCID: PMC2533646  PMID: 18721465

Results 1-2 (2)