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1.  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
2.  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
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

Results 1-3 (3)