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1.  Pancreatitis of biliary origin, optimal timing of cholecystectomy (PONCHO trial): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:225.
Background
After an initial attack of biliary pancreatitis, cholecystectomy minimizes the risk of recurrent biliary pancreatitis and other gallstone-related complications. Guidelines advocate performing cholecystectomy within 2 to 4 weeks after discharge for mild biliary pancreatitis. During this waiting period, the patient is at risk of recurrent biliary events. In current clinical practice, surgeons usually postpone cholecystectomy for 6 weeks due to a perceived risk of a more difficult dissection in the early days following pancreatitis and for logistical reasons. We hypothesize that early laparoscopic cholecystectomy minimizes the risk of recurrent biliary pancreatitis or other complications of gallstone disease in patients with mild biliary pancreatitis without increasing the difficulty of dissection and the surgical complication rate compared with interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
Methods/Design
PONCHO is a randomized controlled, parallel-group, assessor-blinded, superiority multicenter trial. Patients are randomly allocated to undergo early laparoscopic cholecystectomy, within 72 hours after randomization, or interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy, 25 to 30 days after randomization. During a 30-month period, 266 patients will be enrolled from 18 hospitals of the Dutch Pancreatitis Study Group. The primary endpoint is a composite endpoint of mortality and acute re-admissions for biliary events (that is, recurrent biliary pancreatitis, acute cholecystitis, symptomatic/obstructive choledocholithiasis requiring endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography including cholangitis (with/without endoscopic sphincterotomy), and uncomplicated biliary colics) occurring within 6 months following randomization. Secondary endpoints include the individual endpoints of the composite endpoint, surgical and other complications, technical difficulty of cholecystectomy and costs.
Discussion
The PONCHO trial is designed to show that early laparoscopic cholecystectomy (within 72 hours) reduces the combined endpoint of mortality and re-admissions for biliary events as compared with interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy (between 25 and 30 days) after recovery of a first episode of mild biliary pancreatitis.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN72764151
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-225
PMCID: PMC3517749  PMID: 23181667
Acute pancreatitis; Gallstones; Trial; Common bile duct; Cholecystitis; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography; Surgery; Cholecystectomy; Timing; Mortality
2.  Pancreatitis, very early compared with normal start of enteral feeding (PYTHON trial): design and rationale of a randomised controlled multicenter trial 
Trials  2011;12:73.
Background
In predicted severe acute pancreatitis, infections have a negative effect on clinical outcome. A start of enteral nutrition (EN) within 24 hours of onset may reduce the number of infections as compared to the current practice of starting an oral diet and EN if necessary at 3-4 days after admission.
Methods/Design
The PYTHON trial is a randomised controlled, parallel-group, superiority multicenter trial. Patients with predicted severe acute pancreatitis (Imrie-score ≥ 3 or APACHE-II score ≥ 8 or CRP > 150 mg/L) will be randomised to EN within 24 hours or an oral diet and EN if necessary, after 72 hours after hospital admission.
During a 3-year period, 208 patients will be enrolled from 20 hospitals of the Dutch Pancreatitis Study Group. The primary endpoint is a composite of mortality or infections (bacteraemia, infected pancreatic or peripancreatic necrosis, pneumonia) during hospital stay or within 6 months following randomisation. Secondary endpoints include other major morbidity (e.g. new onset organ failure, need for intervention), intolerance of enteral feeding and total costs from a societal perspective.
Discussion
The PYTHON trial is designed to show that a very early (< 24 h) start of EN reduces the combined endpoint of mortality or infections as compared to the current practice of an oral diet and EN if necessary at around 72 hours after admission for predicted severe acute pancreatitis.
Trial Registration
ISRCTN: ISRCTN18170985
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-12-73
PMCID: PMC3068962  PMID: 21392395
3.  Performance of EUS-FNA for mediastinal lymphadenopathy: impact on patient management and costs in low-volume EUS centers 
Surgical Endoscopy  2010;24(9):2260-2267.
Background
Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) of mediastinal lymphadenopathy has been shown to be a valuable diagnostic tool in high-volume EUS centers (≥50 mediastinal EUS-FNA/endoscopist/year). Our goal was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of EUS-FNA and its impact on clinical management and costs in low-volume EUS centers (<50 mediastinal EUS-FNA/endoscopist/year).
Methods
Consecutive patients referred to two Dutch endoscopy centers in the period 2002–2008 for EUS-FNA of mediastinal lymphadenopathy were reviewed. The gold standard for a cytological diagnosis was histological confirmation or clinical follow-up of more than 6 months with repeat imaging. The impact of EUS-FNA on clinical management was subdivided into a positive impact by providing (1) adequate cytology that influenced the decision to perform surgery or (2) a diagnosis of a benign inflammatory disorder, and a negative impact which was subdivided into (1) false-negative or inconclusive cytology or (2) an adequate cytological diagnosis that did not influence patient management. Costs of an alternative diagnostic work-up without EUS-FNA, as established by an expert panel, were compared to costs of the actual work-up.
Results
In total, 213 patients (71% male, median age = 61 years, range = 23–88 years) underwent EUS-FNA. Sensitivity, specificity, and negative and positive predictive values were 89%, 100%, 80%, and 100%, respectively. EUS-FNA had a positive impact on clinical management in 84% of cases by either influencing the decision to perform surgery (49%) or excluding malignant lymphadenopathy (35%), and a negative impact in 7% of cases because of inadequate (3%) or false-negative (4%) cytology. In 9% of cases, EUS-FNA was performed without an established indication. Two nonfatal perforations occurred (0.9%). Total cost reduction was €100,593, with a mean cost reduction of €472 (SD = €607) per patient.
Conclusions
Mediastinal EUS-FNA can be performed in low-volume EUS centers without compromising diagnostic accuracy. Moreover, EUS-FNA plays an important role in the management of patients with mediastinal lymphadenopathy and reduces total diagnostic costs.
doi:10.1007/s00464-010-0946-9
PMCID: PMC2939341  PMID: 20177920
EUS-FNA; Costs; Accuracy; Mediastinal lymphadenopathy
4.  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

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