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1.  Traditional invasive vs. minimally invasive esophagectomy: a multi-center, randomized trial (TIME-trial) 
BMC Surgery  2011;11:2.
Background
There is a rise in incidence of esophageal carcinoma due to increasing incidence of adenocarcinoma. Probably the only curative option to date is the use of neoadjuvant therapy followed by surgical resection. Traditional open esophageal resection is associated with a high morbidity and mortality rate. Furthermore, this approach involves long intensive care unit stay, in-hospital stay and long recovery period. Minimally invasive esophagectomy could reduce the morbidity and accelerate the post-operative recovery.
Methods/Design
Comparison between traditional open and minimally invasive esophagectomy in a multi-center, randomized trial. Patients with a resectable intrathoracic esophageal carcinoma, including the gastro-esophageal junction tumors (Siewert I) are eligible for inclusion. Prior thoracic surgery and cervical esophageal carcinoma are indications for exclusion. The surgical technique involves a right thoracotomy with lung blockade and laparotomy either with a cervical or thoracic anastomosis for the traditional group. The minimally invasive procedure involves a right thoracoscopy in prone position with a single lumen tube and laparoscopy either with a cervical or thoracic anastomosis. All patients in both groups will undergo identical pre-operative and post-operative protocol. Primary endpoint of this study are post-operative respiratory complications within the first two post-operative weeks confirmed by clinical, radiological and sputum culture data. Secondary endpoints are the operative data, the post-operative data and oncological data such as quality of the specimen and survival. Operative data include duration of the operation, blood loss and conversion to open procedure. Post-operative data include morbidity (major and minor), quality of life tests and hospital stay.
Based on current literature and the experience of all participating centers, an incidence of pulmonary complications for 57% in the traditional arm and 29% in the minimally invasive arm, it is estimated that per arm 48 patients are needed. This is based on a two-sided significance level (alpha) of 0.05 and a power of 0.80. Knowing that approximately 20% of the patients will be excluded, we will randomize 60 patients per arm.
Discussion
The TIME-trial is a prospective, multi-center, randomized study to define the role of minimally invasive esophageal resection in patients with resectable intrathoracic and junction esophageal cancer.
Trial registration (Netherlands Trial Register)
NTR2452
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-11-2
PMCID: PMC3031195  PMID: 21226918
2.  A prospective cohort study to investigate cost-minimisation, of Traditional open, open fAst track recovery and laParoscopic fASt track multimodal management, for surgical patients with colon carcinomas (TAPAS study) 
BMC Surgery  2010;10:18.
Background
The present developments in colon surgery are characterized by two innovations: the introduction of the laparoscopic operation technique and fast recovery programs such as the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) recovery program. The Tapas-study was conceived to determine which of the three treatment programs: open conventional surgery, open 'ERAS' surgery or laparoscopic 'ERAS' surgery for patients with colon carcinomas is most cost minimizing?
Method/design
The Tapas-study is a three-arm multicenter prospective cohort study.
All patients with colon carcinoma, eligible for surgical treatment within the study period in four general teaching hospitals and one university hospital will be included. This design produces three cohorts: Conventional open surgery is the control exposure (cohort 1). Open surgery with ERAS recovery (cohort 2) and laparoscopic surgery with ERAS recovery (cohort 3) are the alternative exposures. Three separate time periods are used in order to prevent attrition bias.
Primary outcome parameters are the two main cost factors: direct medical costs (real cost price calculation) and the indirect non medical costs (friction method). Secondary outcome parameters are mortality, complications, surgical-oncological resection margins, hospital stay, readmission rates, time back to work/recovery, health status and quality of life.
Based on an estimated difference in direct medical costs (highest cost factor) of 38% between open and laparoscopic surgery (alfa = 0.01, beta = 0.05), a group size of 3×40 = 120 patients is calculated.
Discussion
The Tapas-study is three-arm multicenter cohort study that will provide a cost evaluation of three treatment programs for patients with colon carcinoma, which may serve as a guideline for choice of treatment and investment strategies in hospitals.
Trial registration
ISRCTN44649165.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-10-18
PMCID: PMC2901198  PMID: 20546569
3.  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 1-3 (3)