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1.  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
2.  The ladies trial: laparoscopic peritoneal lavage or resection for purulent peritonitisA and Hartmann's procedure or resection with primary anastomosis for purulent or faecal peritonitisB in perforated diverticulitis (NTR2037) 
BMC Surgery  2010;10:29.
Background
Recently, excellent results are reported on laparoscopic lavage in patients with purulent perforated diverticulitis as an alternative for sigmoidectomy and ostomy.
The objective of this study is to determine whether LaparOscopic LAvage and drainage is a safe and effective treatment for patients with purulent peritonitis (LOLA-arm) and to determine the optimal resectional strategy in patients with a purulent or faecal peritonitis (DIVA-arm: perforated DIVerticulitis: sigmoidresection with or without Anastomosis).
Methods/Design
In this multicentre randomised trial all patients with perforated diverticulitis are included. Upon laparoscopy, patients with purulent peritonitis are treated with laparoscopic lavage and drainage, Hartmann's procedure or sigmoidectomy with primary anastomosis in a ratio of 2:1:1 (LOLA-arm). Patients with faecal peritonitis will be randomised 1:1 between Hartmann's procedure and resection with primary anastomosis (DIVA-arm). The primary combined endpoint of the LOLA-arm is major morbidity and mortality. A sample size of 132:66:66 patients will be able to detect a difference in the primary endpoint from 25% in resectional groups compared to 10% in the laparoscopic lavage group (two sided alpha = 5%, power = 90%). Endpoint of the DIVA-arm is stoma free survival one year after initial surgery. In this arm 212 patients are needed to significantly demonstrate a difference of 30% (log rank test two sided alpha = 5% and power = 90%) in favour of the patients with resection with primary anastomosis. Secondary endpoints for both arms are the number of days alive and outside the hospital, health related quality of life, health care utilisation and associated costs.
Discussion
The Ladies trial is a nationwide multicentre randomised trial on perforated diverticulitis that will provide evidence on the merits of laparoscopic lavage and drainage for purulent generalised peritonitis and on the optimal resectional strategy for both purulent and faecal generalised peritonitis.
Trial registration
Nederlands Trial Register NTR2037
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-10-29
PMCID: PMC2974662  PMID: 20955571
3.  DIRECT trial. Diverticulitis recurrences or continuing symptoms: Operative versus conservative Treatment. A MULTICENTER RANDOMISED CLINICAL TRIAL 
BMC Surgery  2010;10:25.
Background
Persisting abdominal complaints are common after an episode of diverticulitis treated conservatively. Furthermore, some patients develop frequent recurrences. These two groups of patients suffer greatly from their disease, as shown by impaired health related quality of life and increased costs due to multiple specialist consultations, pain medication and productivity losses.
Both conservative and operative management of patients with persisting abdominal complaints after an episode of diverticulitis and/or frequently recurring diverticulitis are applied. However, direct comparison by a randomised controlled trial is necessary to determine which is superior in relieving symptoms, optimising health related quality of life, minimising costs and preventing diverticulitis recurrences against acceptable morbidity and mortality associated with surgery or the occurrence of a complicated recurrence after conservative management.
We, therefore, constructed a randomised clinical trial comparing these two treatment strategies.
Methods/design
The DIRECT trial is a multicenter randomised clinical trial. Patients (18-75 years) presenting themselves with persisting abdominal complaints after an episode of diverticulitis and/or three or more recurrences within 2 years will be included and randomised. Patients randomised for conservative treatment are treated according to the current daily practice (antibiotics, analgetics and/or expectant management). Patients randomised for elective resection will undergo an elective resection of the affected colon segment. Preferably, a laparoscopic approach is used.
The primary outcome is health related quality of life measured by the Gastro-intestinal Quality of Life Index, Short-Form 36, EQ-5D and a visual analogue scale for pain quantification. Secondary endpoints are morbidity, mortality and total costs. The total follow-up will be three years.
Discussion
Considering the high incidence and the multicenter design of this study, it may be assumed that the number of patients needed for this study (n = 214), may be gathered within one and a half year.
Depending on the expertise and available equipment, we prefer to perform a laparoscopic resection on patients randomised for elective surgery. Should this be impossible, an open technique may be used as this also reflects the current situation.
Trial Registration
(Trial register number: NTR1478)
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-10-25
PMCID: PMC2928179  PMID: 20691040
4.  A multicenter randomized clinical trial investigating the cost-effectiveness of treatment strategies with or without antibiotics for uncomplicated acute diverticulitis (DIABOLO trial) 
BMC Surgery  2010;10:23.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Conclusion
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
Trial registration number: NCT01111253
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-10-23
PMCID: PMC2919453  PMID: 20646266
5.  Transanal endoscopic microsurgery versus endoscopic mucosal resection for large rectal adenomas (TREND-study) 
BMC Surgery  2009;9:4.
Background
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.
Methods/design
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.
Discussion
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
(trialregister.nl) NTR1422
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-9-4
PMCID: PMC2664790  PMID: 19284647
6.  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
7.  Minimally invasive 'step-up approach' versus maximal necrosectomy in patients with acute necrotising pancreatitis (PANTER trial): design and rationale of a randomised controlled multicenter trial [ISRCTN38327949] 
BMC Surgery  2006;6:6.
Background
The initial treatment of acute necrotizing pancreatitis is conservative. Intervention is indicated in patients with (suspected) infected necrotizing pancreatitis. In the Netherlands, the standard intervention is necrosectomy by laparotomy followed by continuous postoperative lavage (CPL). In recent years several minimally invasive strategies have been introduced. So far, these strategies have never been compared in a randomised controlled trial. The PANTER study (PAncreatitis, Necrosectomy versus sTEp up appRoach) was conceived to yield the evidence needed for a considered policy decision.
Methods/design
88 patients with (suspected) infected necrotizing pancreatitis will be randomly allocated to either group A) minimally invasive 'step-up approach' starting with drainage followed, if necessary, by videoscopic assisted retroperitoneal debridement (VARD) or group B) maximal necrosectomy by laparotomy. Both procedures are followed by CPL. Patients will be recruited from 20 hospitals, including all Dutch university medical centres, over a 3-year period. The primary endpoint is the proportion of patients suffering from postoperative major morbidity and mortality. Secondary endpoints are complications, new onset sepsis, length of hospital and intensive care stay, quality of life and total (direct and indirect) costs. To demonstrate that the 'step-up approach' can reduce the major morbidity and mortality rate from 45 to 16%, with 80% power at 5% alpha, a total sample size of 88 patients was calculated.
Discussion
The PANTER-study is a randomised controlled trial that will provide evidence on the merits of a minimally invasive 'step-up approach' in patients with (suspected) infected necrotizing pancreatitis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-6-6
PMCID: PMC1508161  PMID: 16606471

Results 1-7 (7)