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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.  A multicenter randomized controlled trial evaluating the effect of small stitches on the incidence of incisional hernia in midline incisions 
BMC Surgery  2011;11:20.
Background
The median laparotomy is frequently used by abdominal surgeons to gain rapid and wide access to the abdominal cavity with minimal damage to nerves, vascular structures and muscles of the abdominal wall. However, incisional hernia remains the most common complication after median laparotomy, with reported incidences varying between 2-20%. Recent clinical and experimental data showed a continuous suture technique with many small tissue bites in the aponeurosis only, is possibly more effective in the prevention of incisional hernia when compared to the common used large bite technique or mass closure.
Methods/Design
The STITCH trial is a double-blinded multicenter randomized controlled trial designed to compare a standardized large bite technique with a standardized small bites technique. The main objective is to compare both suture techniques for incidence of incisional hernia after one year. Secondary outcomes will include postoperative complications, direct costs, indirect costs and quality of life.
A total of 576 patients will be randomized between a standardized small bites or large bites technique. At least 10 departments of general surgery and two departments of oncological gynaecology will participate in this trial. Both techniques have a standardized amount of stitches per cm wound length and suture length wound length ratio's are calculated in each patient. Follow up will be at 1 month for wound infection and 1 year for incisional hernia. Ultrasound examinations will be performed at both time points to measure the distance between the rectus muscles (at 3 points) and to objectify presence or absence of incisional hernia. Patients, investigators and radiologists will be blinded during follow up, although the surgeon can not be blinded during the surgical procedure.
Conclusion
The STITCH trial will provide level 1b evidence to support the preference for either a continuous suture technique with many small tissue bites in the aponeurosis only or for the commonly used large bites technique.
Trial registration
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01132209
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-11-20
PMCID: PMC3182877  PMID: 21871072
3.  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

Results 1-3 (3)