Exercise reduced tolerance and breathlessness are common in the elderly and can result in substantial loss in functionality and health related quality of life. Heart failure (HF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are common underlying causes, but can be difficult to disentangle due to overlap in symptomatology. In addition, other potential causes such as obesity, anaemia, renal dysfunction and thyroid disorders may be involved.
We aim to assess whether screening of frail elderly with reduced exercise tolerance leads to high detection rates of HF, COPD, or alternative diagnoses, and whether detection of these diseases would result in changes in patient management and increase in both functionality and quality of life.
A cluster randomized diagnostic trial. Primary care practices are randomized to the diagnostic-treatment strategy (screening) or care as usual.
Patient population: Frail (defined as having three or more chronic or vitality threatening diseases and/or receiving five or more drugs chronically during the last year) community-dwelling persons aged 65 years and older selected from the electronic medical files of the participating general practitioners. Those with reduced exercise tolerance or moderate to severe dyspnoea (≥2 score on the Medical Research Counsel dyspnoea scale) are included in the study.
The diagnostic screening in the intervention group includes history taking, physical examination, electrocardiography, spirometry, blood tests, and echocardiography. Subsequently, participants with new diagnoses will be managed according to clinical guidelines. Participants in the control arm receive care as usual. All participants fill out health status and other relevant questionnaires at baseline and after 6 months of follow-up.
This study will generate information on the yield of screening for previously unrecognized HF, COPD and other chronic diseases in frail elderly with reduced exercise tolerance and/or exercise induced dyspnoea. The cluster randomized comparison will reveal whether this yield will result in subsequent improvements in functional health and/or health related quality of life.
Reduced exercise tolerance; Dyspnoea; Breathlessness; Heart failure; COPD; Frail; Elderly; Screening
We have previously developed and validated a prognostic model to predict the risk for unfavorable outcome in Dutch adults with bacterial meningitis. The aim of the current study was to validate this model in adults with bacterial meningitis from two developing countries, Vietnam and Malawi. Demographic and clinical characteristics of Vietnamese (n = 426), Malawian patients (n = 465) differed substantially from those of Dutch patients (n = 696). The Dutch model underestimated the risk of poor outcome in both Malawi and Vietnam. The discrimination of the original model (c-statistic [c] 0.84; 95% confidence interval 0.81 to 0.86) fell considerably when re-estimated in the Vietnam cohort (c = 0.70) or in the Malawian cohort (c = 0.68). Our validation study shows that new prognostic models have to be developed for these countries in a sufficiently large series of unselected patients.
Injured trauma victims are at risk of developing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other post-trauma psychopathology. So far, interventions using cognitive behavioral techniques (CBT) have proven most efficacious in treating early PTSD in highly symptomatic individuals. No early intervention for the prevention of PTSD for all victims has yet proven effective. In the acute psychosocial care for trauma victims, there is a clear need for easily applicable, accessible, cost-efficient early interventions.
To describe the design of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluating the effectiveness of a brief Internet-based early intervention that incorporates CBT techniques with the aim of reducing acute psychological distress and preventing long-term PTSD symptoms in injured trauma victims.
In a two armed RCT, 300 injured trauma victims from two Level-1 trauma centers in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, will be assigned to an intervention or a control group. Inclusion criteria are: being 18 years of age or older, having experienced a traumatic event according to the diagnostic criteria of the DSM-IV and understanding the Dutch language. The intervention group will be given access to the intervention's website (www.traumatips.nl), and are specifically requested to login within the first month postinjury. The primary clinical study outcome is PTSD symptom severity. Secondary outcomes include symptoms of depression and anxiety, quality of life, and social support. In addition, a cost-effectiveness analysis of the intervention will be performed. Data are collected at one week post-injury, prior to first login (baseline), and at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. Analyses will be on an intention-to-treat basis.
The results will provide more insight into the effects of preventive interventions in general, and Internet-based early interventions specifically, on acute stress reactions and PTSD, in an injured population, during the acute phase after trauma. We will discuss possible strengths and limitations.
injury; trauma; early intervention; prevention; Internet; e-Mental Health; PTSD; cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
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.
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.
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.
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.
To assess the variability and systematic differences in polyp measurements on optical colonoscopy and CT colonography.
Gastroenterologists measured 51 polyps by visual estimation, forceps comparison and linear probe. CT colonography observers randomly assessed polyp size two-dimensionally (abdominal and intermediate window) and three-dimensionally (manually and semi-automatically). Linear mixed models were used to assess the variability and systematic differences between CT colonography and optical colonoscopy techniques.
The variability of forceps and linear probe measurements was comparable and both showed less variability than measurement by visual assessment. Measurements by linear probe were 0.7 mm smaller than measurements by visual assessment or by forceps. The variability of all CT colonography techniques was lower than for measurements by forceps or visual assessment and sometimes lower (only 2D intermediate window and manual 3D) compared with measurements by linear probe. All CT colonography measurements judged polyps to be larger than optical colonoscopy, with differences ranging from 0.7 to 2.3 mm.
A linear probe does not reduce the measurement variability of endoscopists compared with the forceps. Measurement differences between observers on CT colonography were usually smaller than at optical colonoscopy. Polyps appeared larger when using various CT colonography techniques than when measured during optical colonoscopy.
CT colonography; Colon; Colonoscopy; Measurement; Cancer; 2D; 3D
Hyperglycemia has been associated with unfavorable outcome in several disorders, but few data are available in bacterial meningitis. We assessed the incidence and significance of hyperglycemia in adults with bacterial meningitis.
We collected data prospectively between October 1998 and April 2002, on 696 episodes of community-acquired bacterial meningitis, confirmed by culture of CSF in patients >16 years. Patients were dichotomized according to blood glucose level on admission. A cutoff random non-fasting blood glucose level of 7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dL) was used to define hyperglycemia, and a cutoff random non-fasting blood glucose level of 11.1 mmol/L (200 mg/dL) was used to define severe hyperglycemia. Unfavorable outcome was defined on the Glasgow outcome scale as a score <5. We also evaluated characteristics of patients with a preadmission diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.
69% of patients were hyperglycemic and 25% severely hyperglycemic on admission. Compared with non-hyperglycemic patients, hyperglycemia was related with advanced age (median, 55 yrs vs. 44 yrs, P < 0.0001), preadmission diagnosis of diabetes (9% vs. 3%, P = 0.005), and distant focus of infection (37% vs. 28%, P = 0.02). They were more often admitted in coma (16% vs. 8%; P = 0.004) and with pneumococcal meningitis (55% vs. 42%, P = 0.007). These differences remained significant after exclusion of patients with known diabetes. Hyperglycemia was related with unfavorable outcome in a univariate analysis but this relation did not remain robust in a multivariate analysis. Factors predictive for neurologic compromise were related with higher blood glucose levels, whereas factors predictive for systemic compromise were related with lower blood glucose levels. Only a minority of severely hyperglycemic patients were known diabetics (19%). The vast majority of these known diabetic patients had meningitis due to Streptococcus pneumoniae (67%) or Listeria monocytogenes (13%) and they were at high risk for unfavorable outcome (52%).
The majority of patients with bacterial meningitis have hyperglycemic blood glucose levels on admission. Hyperglycemia can be explained by a physical stress reaction, the central nervous system insult leading to disturbed blood-glucose regulation mechanisms, and preponderance of diabetics for pneumococcal meningitis. Patients with diabetes and bacterial meningitis are at high risk for unfavorable outcome.
Perinatal mortality is an important indicator of health. European comparisons of perinatal mortality show an unfavourable position for the Netherlands. Our objective was to study regional variation in perinatal mortality within the Netherlands and to identify possible explanatory factors for the found differences.
Our study population comprised of all singleton births (904,003) derived from the Netherlands Perinatal Registry for the period 2000–2004. Perinatal mortality including stillbirth from 22+0 weeks gestation and early neonatal death (0–6 days) was our main outcome measure. Differences in perinatal mortality were calculated between 4 distinct geographical regions North-East-South-West. We tried to explain regional differences by adjustment for the demographic factors maternal age, parity and ethnicity and by socio-economic status and urbanisation degree using logistic modelling. In addition, regional differences in mode of delivery and risk selection were analysed as health care factors. Finally, perinatal mortality was analysed among five distinct clinical risk groups based on the mediating risk factors gestational age and congenital anomalies.
Overall perinatal mortality was 10.1 per 1,000 total births over the period 2000–2004. Perinatal mortality was elevated in the northern region (11.2 per 1,000 total births). Perinatal mortality in the eastern, western and southern region was 10.2, 10.1 and 9.6 per 1,000 total births respectively. Adjustment for demographic factors increased the perinatal mortality risk in the northern region (odds ratio 1.20, 95% CI 1.12–1.28, compared to reference western region), subsequent adjustment for socio-economic status and urbanisation explained a small part of the elevated risk (odds ratio 1.11, 95% CI 1.03–1.20). Risk group analysis showed that regional differences were absent among very preterm births (22+0 – 25+6 weeks gestation) and most prominent among births from 32+0 gestation weeks onwards and among children with severe congenital anomalies. Among term births (≥ 37+0 weeks) regional mortality differences were largest for births in women transferred from low to high risk during delivery.
Regional differences in perinatal mortality exist in the Netherlands. These differences could not be explained by demographic or socio-economic factors, however clinical risk group analysis showed indications for a role of health care factors.
Recent non-randomized studies suggest that extended endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) is equally effective in removing large rectal adenomas as transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM). If equally effective, EMR might be a more cost-effective approach as this strategy does not require expensive equipment, general anesthesia and hospital admission. Furthermore, EMR appears to be associated with fewer complications.
The aim of this study is to compare the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of TEM and EMR for the resection of large rectal adenomas.
Multicenter randomized trial among 15 hospitals in the Netherlands. Patients with a rectal adenoma ≥ 3 cm, located between 1–15 cm ab ano, will be randomized to a TEM- or EMR-treatment strategy. For TEM, patients will be treated under general anesthesia, adenomas will be dissected en-bloc by a full-thickness excision, and patients will be admitted to the hospital. For EMR, no or conscious sedation is used, lesions will be resected through the submucosal plane in a piecemeal fashion, and patients will be discharged from the hospital. Residual adenoma that is visible during the first surveillance endoscopy at 3 months will be removed endoscopically in both treatment strategies and is considered as part of the primary treatment.
Primary outcome measure is the proportion of patients with recurrence after 3 months. Secondary outcome measures are: 2) number of days not spent in hospital from initial treatment until 2 years afterwards; 3) major and minor morbidity; 4) disease specific and general quality of life; 5) anorectal function; 6) health care utilization and costs. A cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analysis of EMR against TEM for large rectal adenomas will be performed from a societal perspective with respectively the costs per recurrence free patient and the cost per quality adjusted life year as outcome measures.
Based on comparable recurrence rates for TEM and EMR of 3.3% and considering an upper-limit of 10% for EMR to be non-inferior (beta-error 0.2 and one-sided alpha-error 0.05), 89 patients are needed per group.
The TREND study is the first randomized trial evaluating whether TEM or EMR is more cost-effective for the treatment of large rectal adenomas.
Trial registration number
This study sought to examine the differences between ignoring (naïve) and incorporating dependency (nonnaïve) among linkage variables on the outcome of a probabilistic record linkage study.
Design and Measurements
We used the outcomes of a previously developed probabilistic linkage procedure for different registries in perinatal care assuming independence among linkage variables. We estimated the impact of ignoring dependency by re-estimating the linkage weights after constructing a variable that combines the outcomes of the comparison of 2 correlated linking variables. The results of the original naïve and the new nonnaïve strategy were systematically compared for 3 scenarios: the empirical dataset using 9 variables, the empirical dataset using 5 variables, and a simulated dataset using 5 variables.
The linking weight for agreement on 2 correlated variables among nonmatches was estimated considerably higher in the naïve strategy than in the nonnaïve strategy (16.87 vs. 13.55). Therefore, ignoring dependency overestimates the amount of identifying information if both correlated variables agree. The impact on the number of pairs that was classified differently with both approaches was modest in the situation in which there were many different linking variables but grew substantially with fewer variables. The simulation study confirmed the results of the empirical study and suggests that the number of misclassifications can increase substantially by ignoring dependency under less favorable linking conditions.
Dependency often exists between linking variables and has the potential to bias the outcome of a linkage study. The nonnaïve approach is a straightforward method for creating linking weights that accommodate dependency. The impact on the number of misclassifications depends on the quality and number of linking variables relative to the number of correlated linking variables.
To determine to what extent patients who have survived abdominal sepsis suffer from symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, and to identify potential risk factors for PTSD symptoms.
Design and setting
PTSD and depression symptoms were measured using the Impact of Events Scale–Revised (IES-R), the Post-Traumatic Symptom Scale 10 (PTSS-10) and the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II).
Patients and participants
A total of 135 peritonitis patients were eligible for this study, of whom 107 (80%) patients completed the questionnaire. The median APACHE-II score was 14 (range 12–16), and 89% were admitted to the ICU.
Measurements and results
The proportion of patients with “moderate” PTSD symptom scores was 28% (95% CI 20–37), whilst 10% (95% CI 6–17) of patients had “high” PTSD symptom scores. Only 5% (95% CI 2–12) of the patients expressed severe depression symptoms. Factors associated with increased PTSD symptoms in a multivariate ordinal regression model were younger age (0.74 per 10 years older, p = 0.082), length of ICU stay (OR = 1.4 per doubling of duration, p = 0.003) and having some (OR = 4.9, p = 0.06) or many (OR = 55.5, p < 0.001) traumatic memories of the ICU or hospital stay.
As many as 38% of patients after abdominal sepsis report elevated levels of PTSD symptoms on at least one of the questionnaires. Our nomogram may assist in identifying patients at increased risk for developing symptoms of PTSD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00134-007-0941-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Peritonitis; Sepsis; Posttraumatic stress disorder; PTSD; Depression; Intensive care; IES-R; PTSS-10; BDI-II
The objective of this study was to determine and compare the effectiveness of different prophylactic antifungal therapies in critically ill patients on the incidence of yeast colonisation, infection, candidemia, and hospital mortality.
A systematic review was conducted of prospective trials including adult non-neutropenic patients, comparing single-drug antifungal prophylaxis (SAP) or selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) with controls and with each other.
Thirty-three studies were included (11 SAP and 22 SDD; 5,529 patients). Compared with control groups, both SAP and SDD reduced the incidence of yeast colonisation (SAP: odds ratio [OR] 0.38, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.20 to 0.70; SDD: OR 0.12, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.29) and infection (SAP: OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.39 to 0.75; SDD: OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.18 to 0.45). Treatment effects were significantly larger in SDD trials than in SAP trials. The incidence of candidemia was reduced by SAP (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.82) but not by SDD (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.25 to 1.40). In-hospital mortality was reduced predominantly by SDD (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.93, numbers needed to treat 15; SAP: OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.64 to 1.00). Effectiveness of prophylaxis reduced with an increased proportion of included surgical patients.
Antifungal prophylaxis (SAP or SDD) is effective in reducing yeast colonisation and infections across a range of critically ill patients. Indirect comparisons suggest that SDD is more effective in reducing yeast-related outcomes, except for candidemia.
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.
A prospective cohort of secondary peritonitis patients was mailed the EQ-5D and EQ-VAS 6-months following initial laparotomy.
Multicenter study in two academic and seven regional teaching hospitals.
130 of the 155 eligible patients (84%) responded to the HR-QoL questionnaires.
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.
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.
Nutrilon Omneo (new formula; NF) contains high concentration of sn-2 palmitic acid, a mixture of prebiotic oligosaccharides and partially hydrolyzed whey protein. It is hypothesized that NF positively affects stool characteristics in constipated infants.
Thirty-eight constipated infants, aged 3–20 weeks, were included and randomized to NF (n = 20) or a standard formula (SF; n = 18) in period 1 and crossed-over after 3 weeks to treatment period 2. Constipation was defined by at least one of the following symptoms: 1) defecation frequency < 3/week; 2) painful defecation; 3) abdominal or rectal palpable mass.
Period 1 was completed by 35 infants. A significant increase in defecation frequency (NF: 3.5 pre versus 5.6/week post treatment; SF 3.6 pre versus 4.9/week post treatment) was found in both groups, but was not significantly different between the two formulas (p = 0.36). Improvement of hard stool consistency to soft stool consistency was found more often with NF than SF, but did not reach statistical significance (90% versus 50%; RR, 1.8; 95% CI, 0.9–3.5; p = 0.14). No difference was found in painful defecation or the presence of an abdominal or rectal mass between the two groups. Twenty-four infants completed period 2. Only stool consistency was significantly different between the two formulas (17% had soft stools on NF and hard stools on SF; no infants had soft stools on SF and hard stools on NF, McNemar test p = 0.046).
The addition of a high concentration sn-2 palmitic acid, prebiotic oligosaccharides and partially hydrolyzed whey protein resulted in a strong tendency of softer stools in constipated infants, but not in a difference in defecation frequency. Formula transition to NF may be considered as treatment in constipated infants with hard stools.
A low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) white-blood cell count (WBC) has been identified as an independent risk factor for adverse outcome in adults with bacterial meningitis. Whereas a low CSF WBC indicates the presence of sepsis with early meningitis in patients with meningococcal infections, the relation between CSF WBC and outcome in patients with pneumococcal meningitis is not understood.
We examined the relation between CSF WBC, bacteraemia and sepsis in a prospective cohort study that included 352 episodes of pneumococcal meningitis, confirmed by CSF culture, occurring in patients aged >16 years.
CSF WBC was recorded in 320 of 352 episodes (91%). Median CSF WBC was 2530 per mm3 (interquartile range 531–6983 per mm3) and 104 patients (33%) had a CSF WBC <1000/mm3. Patients with a CSF WBC <1000/mm3 were more likely to have an unfavourable outcome (defined as a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 1–4) than those with a higher WBC (74 of 104 [71%] vs. 87 of 216 [43%]; P < 0.001). CSF WBC was significantly associated with blood WBC (Spearman's test 0.29), CSF protein level (0.20), thrombocyte count (0.21), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (-0.15), and C-reactive protein levels (-0.18). Patients with a CSF WBC <1000/mm3 more often had a positive blood culture (72 of 84 [86%] vs. 138 of 196 [70%]; P = 0.01) and more often developed systemic complications (cardiorespiratory failure, sepsis) than those with a higher WBC (53 of 104 [51%] vs. 69 of 216 [32%]; P = 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, advanced age (Odds ratio per 10-year increments 1.22, 95%CI 1.02–1.45), a positive blood culture (Odds ratio 2.46, 95%CI 1.17–5.14), and a low thrombocyte count on admission (Odds ratio per 100,000/mm3 increments 0.67, 95% CI 0.47–0.97) were associated with a CSF WBC <1000/mm3.
A low CSF WBC in adults with pneumococcal meningitis is related to the presence of signs of sepsis and systemic complications. Invasive pneumococcal infections should possibly be regarded as a continuum from meningitis to sepsis.
In January 2003, STAndards for the Reporting of Diagnostic accuracy studies (STARD) were published in a number of journals, to improve the quality of reporting in diagnostic accuracy studies. We designed a study to investigate the inter-assessment reproducibility, and intra- and inter-observer reproducibility of the items in the STARD statement.
Thirty-two diagnostic accuracy studies published in 2000 in medical journals with an impact factor of at least 4 were included. Two reviewers independently evaluated the quality of reporting of these studies using the 25 items of the STARD statement. A consensus evaluation was obtained by discussing and resolving disagreements between reviewers. Almost two years later, the same studies were evaluated by the same reviewers. For each item, percentages agreement and Cohen's kappa between first and second consensus assessments (inter-assessment) were calculated. Intraclass Correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated to evaluate its reliability.
The overall inter-assessment agreement for all items of the STARD statement was 85% (Cohen's kappa 0.70) and varied from 63% to 100% for individual items. The largest differences between the two assessments were found for the reporting of the rationale of the reference standard (kappa 0.37), number of included participants that underwent tests (kappa 0.28), distribution of the severity of the disease (kappa 0.23), a cross tabulation of the results of the index test by the results of the reference standard (kappa 0.33) and how indeterminate results, missing data and outliers were handled (kappa 0.25). Within and between reviewers, also large differences were observed for these items. The inter-assessment reliability of the STARD checklist was satisfactory (ICC = 0.79 [95% CI: 0.62 to 0.89]).
Although the overall reproducibility of the quality of reporting on diagnostic accuracy studies using the STARD statement was found to be good, substantial disagreements were found for specific items. These disagreements were not so much caused by differences in interpretation of the items by the reviewers but rather by difficulties in assessing the reporting of these items due to lack of clarity within the articles. Including a flow diagram in all reports on diagnostic accuracy studies would be very helpful in reducing confusion between readers and among reviewers.
A quality assessment tool for diagnostic accuracy studies, named QUADAS, has recently been developed. Although QUADAS has been used in several systematic reviews, it has not been formally validated. The objective was to evaluate the validity and usefulness of QUADAS.
Three reviewers independently rated the quality of 30 studies using QUADAS. We assessed the proportion of agreements between each reviewer and the final consensus rating. This was done for all QUADAS items combined and for each individual item. Twenty reviewers who had used QUADAS in their reviews completed a short structured questionnaire on their experience of QUADAS.
Over all items, the agreements between each reviewer and the final consensus rating were 91%, 90% and 85%. The results for individual QUADAS items varied between 50% and 100% with a median value of 90%. Items related to uninterpretable test results and withdrawals led to the most disagreements. The feedback on the content of the tool was generally positive with only small numbers of reviewers reporting problems with coverage, ease of use, clarity of instructions and validity.
Major modifications to the content of QUADAS itself are not necessary. The evaluation highlighted particular difficulties in scoring the items on uninterpretable results and withdrawals. Revised guidelines for scoring these items are proposed. It is essential that reviewers tailor guidelines for scoring items to their review, and ensure that all reviewers are clear on how to score studies. Reviewers should consider whether all QUADAS items are relevant to their review, and whether additional quality items should be assessed as part of their review.
Studies with methodologic shortcomings can overestimate the accuracy of a medical test. We sought to determine and compare the direction and magnitude of the effects of a number of potential sources of bias and variation in studies on estimates of diagnostic accuracy.
We identified meta-analyses of the diagnostic accuracy of tests through an electronic search of the databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, DARE and MEDION (1999–2002). We included meta-analyses with at least 10 primary studies without preselection based on design features. Pairs of reviewers independently extracted study characteristics and original data from the primary studies. We used a multivariable meta-epidemiologic regression model to investigate the direction and strength of the association between 15 study features on estimates of diagnostic accuracy.
We selected 31 meta-analyses with 487 primary studies of test evaluations. Only 1 study had no design deficiencies. The quality of reporting was poor in most of the studies. We found significantly higher estimates of diagnostic accuracy in studies with nonconsecutive inclusion of patients (relative diagnostic odds ratio [RDOR] 1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0–2.1) and retrospective data collection (RDOR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.2). The estimates were highest in studies that had severe cases and healthy controls (RDOR 4.9, 95% CI 0.6–37.3). Studies that selected patients based on whether they had been referred for the index test, rather than on clinical symptoms, produced significantly lower estimates of diagnostic accuracy (RDOR 0.5, 95% CI 0.3–0.9). The variance between meta-analyses of the effect of design features was large to moderate for type of design (cohort v. case–control), the use of composite reference standards and the use of differential verification; the variance was close to zero for the other design features.
Shortcomings in study design can affect estimates of diagnostic accuracy, but the magnitude of the effect may vary from one situation to another. Design features and clinical characteristics of patient groups should be carefully considered by researchers when designing new studies and by readers when appraising the results of such studies. Unfortunately, incomplete reporting hampers the evaluation of potential sources of bias in diagnostic accuracy studies.
In the era of evidence based medicine, with systematic reviews as its cornerstone, adequate quality assessment tools should be available. There is currently a lack of a systematically developed and evaluated tool for the assessment of diagnostic accuracy studies. The aim of this project was to combine empirical evidence and expert opinion in a formal consensus method to develop a tool to be used in systematic reviews to assess the quality of primary studies of diagnostic accuracy.
We conducted a Delphi procedure to develop the quality assessment tool by refining an initial list of items. Members of the Delphi panel were experts in the area of diagnostic research. The results of three previously conducted reviews of the diagnostic literature were used to generate a list of potential items for inclusion in the tool and to provide an evidence base upon which to develop the tool.
A total of nine experts in the field of diagnostics took part in the Delphi procedure. The Delphi procedure consisted of four rounds, after which agreement was reached on the items to be included in the tool which we have called QUADAS. The initial list of 28 items was reduced to fourteen items in the final tool. Items included covered patient spectrum, reference standard, disease progression bias, verification bias, review bias, clinical review bias, incorporation bias, test execution, study withdrawals, and indeterminate results. The QUADAS tool is presented together with guidelines for scoring each of the items included in the tool.
This project has produced an evidence based quality assessment tool to be used in systematic reviews of diagnostic accuracy studies. Further work to determine the usability and validity of the tool continues.
To improve the accuracy and completeness of reporting of studies of diagnostic accuracy, to allow readers to assess the potential for bias in a study, and to evaluate a study's generalisability.
The Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy (STARD) steering committee searched the literature to identify publications on the appropriate conduct and reporting of diagnostic studies and extracted potential items into an extensive list. Researchers, editors, and members of professional organisations shortened this list during a two day consensus meeting, with the goal of developing a checklist and a generic flow diagram for studies of diagnostic accuracy.
The search for published guidelines about diagnostic research yielded 33 previously published checklists, from which we extracted a list of 75 potential items. At the consensus meeting, participants shortened the list to a 25 item checklist, by using evidence, whenever available. A prototype of a flow diagram provides information about the method of patient recruitment, the order of test execution, and the numbers of patients undergoing the test under evaluation and the reference standard, or both.
Evaluation of research depends on complete and accurate reporting. If medical journals adopt the STARD checklist and flow diagram, the quality of reporting of studies of diagnostic accuracy should improve to the advantage of clinicians, researchers, reviewers, journals, and the public.
Computed tomography (CT) scanning has become essential in the early diagnostic phase of trauma care because of its high diagnostic accuracy. The introduction of multi-slice CT scanners and infrastructural improvements made total-body CT scanning technically feasible and its usage is currently becoming common practice in several trauma centers. However, literature provides limited evidence whether immediate total-body CT leads to better clinical outcome then conventional radiographic imaging supplemented with selective CT scanning in trauma patients. The aim of the REACT-2 trial is to determine the value of immediate total-body CT scanning in trauma patients.
The REACT-2 trial is an international, multicenter randomized clinical trial. All participating trauma centers have a multi-slice CT scanner located in the trauma room or at the Emergency Department (ED). All adult, non-pregnant, severely injured trauma patients according to predefined criteria will be included. Patients in whom direct scanning will hamper necessary cardiopulmonary resuscitation or who require an immediate operation because of imminent death (both as judged by the trauma team leader) are excluded. Randomization will be computer assisted. The intervention group will receive a contrast-enhanced total-body CT scan (head to pelvis) during the primary survey. The control group will be evaluated according to local conventional trauma imaging protocols (based on ATLS guidelines) supplemented with selective CT scanning. Primary outcome will be in-hospital mortality. Secondary outcomes are differences in mortality and morbidity during the first year post trauma, several trauma work-up time intervals, radiation exposure, general health and quality of life at 6 and 12 months post trauma and cost-effectiveness.
The REACT-2 trial is a multicenter randomized clinical trial that will provide evidence on the value of immediate total-body CT scanning during the primary survey of severely injured trauma patients. If immediate total-body CT scanning is found to be the best imaging strategy in severely injured trauma patients it could replace conventional imaging supplemented with CT in this specific group.
To examine commonly used scoring systems, designed to predict overall outcome in critically ill patients, for their ability to select patients with an abdominal sepsis that have ongoing infection needing relaparotomy.
Data from a RCT comparing two surgical strategies was used. The study population consisted of 221 patients at risk for ongoing abdominal infection. The following scoring systems were evaluated with logistic regression analysis for their ability to select patients requiring a relaparotomy: APACHE-II score, SAPS-II, Mannheim Peritonitis Index (MPI), MODS, SOFA score, and the acute part of the APACHE-II score (APS).
The proportion of patients requiring a relaparotomy was 32% (71/221). Only 2 scores had a discriminatory ability in identifying patients with ongoing infection needing relaparotomy above chance: the APS on day 1 (AUC 0.61; 95%CI 0.52-0.69) and the SOFA score on day 2 (AUC 0.60; 95%CI 0.52-0.69). However, to correctly identify 90% of all patients needing a relaparotomy would require such a low cut-off value that around 80% of all patients identified by these scoring systems would have negative findings at relaparotomy.
None of the widely-used scoring systems to predict overall outcome in critically ill patients are of clinical value for the identification of patients with ongoing infection needing relaparotomy. There is a need to develop more specific tools to assist physicians in their daily monitoring and selection of these patients after the initial emergency laparotomy.
Trial registration number
ISRCTN: ISRCTN 51729393
Conservative treatment of uncomplicated or mild diverticulitis usually includes antibiotic therapy. It is, however, uncertain whether patients with acute diverticulitis indeed benefit from antibiotics. In most guidelines issued by professional organizations antibiotics are considered mandatory in the treatment of mild diverticulitis. This advice lacks evidence and is merely based on experts' opinion. Adverse effects of the use of antibiotics are well known, including allergic reactions, development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics and other side-effects.
A randomized multicenter pragmatic clinical trial comparing two treatment strategies for uncomplicated acute diverticulitis. I) A conservative strategy with antibiotics: hospital admission, supportive measures and at least 48 hours of intravenous antibiotics which subsequently are switched to oral, if tolerated (for a total duration of antibiotic treatment of 10 days). II) A liberal strategy without antibiotics: admission only if needed on clinical grounds, supportive measures only. Patients are eligible for inclusion if they have a diagnosis of acute uncomplicated diverticulitis as demonstrated by radiological imaging. Only patients with stages 1a and 1b according to Hinchey's classification or "mild" diverticulitis according to the Ambrosetti criteria are included. The primary endpoint is time-to-full recovery within a 6-month follow-up period. Full recovery is defined as being discharged from the hospital, with a return to pre-illness activities, and VAS score below 4 without the use of daily pain medication. Secondary endpoints are proportion of patients who develop complicated diverticulitis requiring surgery or non-surgical intervention, morbidity, costs, health-related quality of life, readmission rate and acute diverticulitis recurrence rate. In a non-inferiority design 264 patients are needed in each study arm to detect a difference in time-to-full recovery of 5 days or more with a power of 85% and a confidence level of 95%. With an estimated one percent of patients lost to follow up, a total of 533 patients will be included.
A clinically relevant difference of more than 5 days in time-to-full recovery between the two treatment strategies is not expected. The liberal strategy without antibiotics and without the strict requirement for hospital admission is anticipated to be more a more cost-effective approach.
Trial registration number: NCT01111253
The aim of this study was to determine the long-term prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomology in patients following secondary peritonitis and to determine whether the prevalence of PTSD-related symptoms differed between patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and patients admitted only to the surgical ward.
A retrospective cohort of consecutive patients treated for secondary peritonitis was sent a postal survey containing a self-report questionnaire, namely the Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome 10-question inventory (PTSS-10). From a database of 278 patients undergoing surgery for secondary peritonitis between 1994 and 2000, 131 patients were long-term survivors (follow-up period at least four years) and were eligible for inclusion in our study, conducted at a tertiary referral hospital in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The response rate was 86%, yielding a cohort of 100 patients; 61% of these patients had been admitted to the ICU. PTSD-related symptoms were found in 24% (95% confidence interval 17% to 33%) of patients when a PTSS-10 score of 35 was chosen as the cutoff, whereas the prevalence of PTSD symptomology when borderline patients scoring 27 points or more were included was 38% (95% confidence interval 29% to 48%). In a multivariate analyses controlling for age, sex, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score, number of relaparotomies and length of hospital stay, the likelihood of ICU-admitted patients having PTSD symptomology was 4.3 times higher (95% confidence interval 1.11 to 16.5) than patients not admitted to the ICU, using a PTSS-10 score cutoff of 35 or greater. Older patients and males were less likely to report PTSD symptoms.
Nearly a quarter of patients receiving surgical treatment for secondary peritonitis developed PTSD symptoms. Patients admitted to the ICU were at significantly greater risk for having PTSD symptoms after adjusting for baseline differences, in particular age.