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1.  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
2.  The Anal Fistula Plug versus the mucosal advancement flap for the treatment of Anorectal Fistula (PLUG trial) 
BMC Surgery  2008;8:11.
Background
Low transsphincteric fistulas less than 1/3 of the sphincter complex are easy to treat by fistulotomy with a high success rate. High transsphincteric fistulas remain a surgical challenge. Various surgical procedures are available, but recurrence rates of these techniques are disappointingly high. The mucosal flap advancement is considered the gold standard for the treatment of high perianal fistula of cryptoglandular origin by most colorectal surgeons. In the literature a recurrence rate between 0 and 63% is reported for the mucosal flap advancement. Recently Armstrong and colleagues reported on a new biologic anal fistula plug, a bioabsorbable xenograft made of lyophilized porcine intestinal submucosa. Their prospective series of 15 patients with high perianal fistula treated with the anal fistula plug showed promising results.
The anal fistula plug trial is designed to compare the anal fistula plug with the mucosal flap advancement in the treatment of high perianal fistula in terms of success rate, continence, postoperative pain, and quality of life.
Methods/design
The PLUG trial is a randomized controlled multicenter trial. Sixty patients with high perianal fistulas of cryptoglandular origin will be randomized to either the fistula plug or the mucosal advancement flap. Study parameters will be anorectal fistula closure-rate, continence, post-operative pain, and quality of life. Patients will be followed-up at two weeks, four weeks, and 16 weeks. At the final follow-up closure rate is determined by clinical examination by a surgeon blinded for the intervention.
Discussion
Before broadly implementing the anal fistula plug results of randomized trials using the plug should be awaited. This randomized controlled trial comparing the anal fistula plug and the mucosal advancement flap should provide evidence regarding the effectiveness of the anal fistula plug in the treatment of high perianal fistulas.
Trial registration
ISRCTN: 97376902
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-8-11
PMCID: PMC2467399  PMID: 18573198
3.  Colonic stenting as bridge to surgery versus emergency surgery for management of acute left-sided malignant colonic obstruction: a multicenter randomized trial (Stent-in 2 study) 
BMC Surgery  2007;7:12.
Background
Acute left-sided colonic obstruction is most often caused by malignancy and the surgical treatment is associated with a high mortality and morbidity rate. Moreover, these operated patients end up with a temporary or permanent stoma. Initial insertion of an enteral stent to decompress the obstructed colon, allowing for surgery to be performed electively, is gaining popularity. In uncontrolled studies stent placement before elective surgery has been suggested to decrease mortality, morbidity and number of colostomies. However stent perforation can lead to peritoneal tumor spill, changing a potentially curable disease in an incurable one. Therefore it is of paramount importance to compare the outcomes of colonic stenting followed by elective surgery with emergency surgery for the management of acute left-sided malignant colonic obstruction in a randomized multicenter fashion.
Methods/design
Patients with acute left-sided malignant colonic obstruction eligible for this study will be randomized to either emergency surgery (current standard treatment) or colonic stenting as bridge to elective surgery. Outcome measurements are effectiveness and costs of both strategies. Effectiveness will be evaluated in terms of quality of life, morbidity and mortality. Quality of life will be measured with standardized questionnaires (EORTC QLQ-C30, EORTC QLQ-CR38, EQ-5D and EQ-VAS). Morbidity is defined as every event leading to hospital admission or prolonging hospital stay. Mortality will be analyzed as total mortality as well as procedure-related mortality. The total costs of treatment will be evaluated by counting volumes and calculating unit prices. Including 120 patients on a 1:1 basis will have 80% power to detect an effect size of 0.5 on the EORTC QLQ-C30 global health scale, using a two group t-test with a 0.05 two-sided significance level. Differences in quality of life and morbidity will be analyzed using mixed-models repeated measures analysis of variance. Mortality will be compared using Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank statistics.
Discussion
The Stent-in 2 study is a randomized controlled multicenter trial that will provide evidence whether or not colonic stenting as bridge to surgery is to be performed in patients with acute left-sided colonic obstruction.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN46462267.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-7-12
PMCID: PMC1925059  PMID: 17608947
4.  Preoperative biliary drainage for periampullary tumors causing obstructive jaundice; DRainage vs. (direct) OPeration (DROP-trial) 
BMC Surgery  2007;7:3.
Background
Surgery in patients with obstructive jaundice caused by a periampullary (pancreas, papilla, distal bile duct) tumor is associated with a higher risk of postoperative complications than in non-jaundiced patients. Preoperative biliary drainage was introduced in an attempt to improve the general condition and thus reduce postoperative morbidity and mortality. Early studies showed a reduction in morbidity. However, more recently the focus has shifted towards the negative effects of drainage, such as an increase of infectious complications. Whether biliary drainage should always be performed in jaundiced patients remains controversial. The randomized controlled multicenter DROP-trial (DRainage vs. Operation) was conceived to compare the outcome of a 'preoperative biliary drainage strategy' (standard strategy) with that of an 'early-surgery' strategy, with respect to the incidence of severe complications (primary-outcome measure), hospital stay, number of invasive diagnostic tests, costs, and quality of life.
Methods/design
Patients with obstructive jaundice due to a periampullary tumor, eligible for exploration after staging with CT scan, and scheduled to undergo a "curative" resection, will be randomized to either "early surgical treatment" (within one week) or "preoperative biliary drainage" (for 4 weeks) and subsequent surgical treatment (standard treatment). Primary outcome measure is the percentage of severe complications up to 90 days after surgery. The sample size calculation is based on the equivalence design for the primary outcome measure. If equivalence is found, the comparison of the secondary outcomes will be essential in selecting the preferred strategy. Based on a 40% complication rate for early surgical treatment and 48% for preoperative drainage, equivalence is taken to be demonstrated if the percentage of severe complications with early surgical treatment is not more than 10% higher compared to standard treatment: preoperative biliary drainage. Accounting for a 10% dropout, 105 patients are needed in each arm resulting in a study population of 210 (alpha = 0.95, beta = 0.8).
Discussion
The DROP-trial is a randomized controlled multicenter trial that will provide evidence whether or not preoperative biliary drainage is to be performed in patients with obstructive jaundice due to a periampullary tumor.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-7-3
PMCID: PMC1828149  PMID: 17352805
5.  Perioperative strategy in colonic surgery; LAparoscopy and/or FAst track multimodal management versus standard care (LAFA trial) 
BMC Surgery  2006;6:16.
Background
Recent developments in large bowel surgery are the introduction of laparoscopic surgery and the implementation of multimodal fast track recovery programs. Both focus on a faster recovery and shorter hospital stay.
The randomized controlled multicenter LAFA-trial (LAparoscopy and/or FAst track multimodal management versus standard care) was conceived to determine whether laparoscopic surgery, fast track perioperative care or a combination of both is to be preferred over open surgery with standard care in patients having segmental colectomy for malignant disease.
Methods/design
The LAFA-trial is a double blinded, multicenter trial with a 2 × 2 balanced factorial design. Patients eligible for segmental colectomy for malignant colorectal disease i.e. right and left colectomy and anterior resection will be randomized to either open or laparoscopic colectomy, and to either standard care or the fast track program. This factorial design produces four treatment groups; open colectomy with standard care (a), open colectomy with fast track program (b), laparoscopic colectomy with standard care (c), and laparoscopic surgery with fast track program (d). Primary outcome parameter is postoperative hospital length of stay including readmission within 30 days. Secondary outcome parameters are quality of life two and four weeks after surgery, overall hospital costs, morbidity, patient satisfaction and readmission rate.
Based on a mean postoperative hospital stay of 9 +/- 2.5 days a group size of 400 patients (100 each arm) can reliably detect a minimum difference of 1 day between the four arms (alfa = 0.95, beta = 0.8). With 100 patients in each arm a difference of 10% in subscales of the Short Form 36 (SF-36) questionnaire and social functioning can be detected.
Discussion
The LAFA-trial is a randomized controlled multicenter trial that will provide evidence on the merits of fast track perioperative care and laparoscopic colorectal surgery in patients having segmental colectomy for malignant disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-6-16
PMCID: PMC1693570  PMID: 17134506

Results 1-5 (5)