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1.  To whom do the results of the multicenter, randomized, controlled INSECT trial (ISRCTN 24023541) apply? - assessment of external validity 
BMC Surgery  2012;12:2.
A response to Seiler et al: Interrupted or continuous slowly absorbable sutures for closure of primary elective midline abdominal incisions: a multicenter randomized trial (INSECT: ISRCTN24023541). Ann Surg 2009, 249(4):576-582.
Background
Existing evidence suggests that the transfer of results of randomized controlled trials into clinical practice may be limited. Potential reasons can be attributed to aspects of external validity. The aim of this study is to investigate issues related to the external validity of the INSECT trial.
Methods
All participating surgical departments were categorized and the clinical and baseline characteristics of randomized patients were evaluated. In addition, demographic and clinical data of all screened and randomized patients at the Departments of Surgery in Heidelberg and Erlangen were analyzed.
Results
Twenty-five centers enrolled a total of 625 patients. These centers included eight primary, 11 secondary, and six tertiary care centers. The tertiary care centers enrolled the most patients (n = 237, 38%) followed by the primary care centers (n = 199, 32%) and the secondary care centers (n = 189 patients; 30%). The mean number and baseline data of randomized patients did not differ between the three types of care centers (p = 0.09). Overall, the treatment according to protocol was at least 92%. At the Department of Surgery, University of Heidelberg, 307 patients were screened and 60 out of 130 eligible patients were randomized. There were no differences in demographic and clinical baseline data between included and non-included patients. In Erlangen, 351 patients were screened and 57 out of 106 eligible patients randomized.
Conclusions
Results of the INSECT trial are applicable to a broad spectrum of patients treated at different hospital levels.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-12-2
PMCID: PMC3328288  PMID: 22316122
2.  Current practice of abdominal wall closure in elective surgery – Is there any consensus? 
BMC Surgery  2009;9:8.
Background
Development of incisional hernia after open abdominal surgery remains a major cause of post-operative morbidity. The aim of this study was to determine the current practice of surgeons in terms of access to and closure of the abdominal cavity in elective open surgery.
Methods
Twelve surgical departments of the INSECT-Trial group documented the following variables for 50 consecutive patients undergoing abdominal surgery: fascial closure techniques, applied suture materials, application of subcutaneous sutures, subcutaneous drains, methods for skin closure. Descriptive analysis was performed and consensus of treatment variables was categorized into four levels: Strong consensus >95%, consensus 75–95%, overall agreement 50–75%, no consensus <50%.
Results
157 out of 599 patients were eligible for analysis (85 (54%) midline, 54 (35%) transverse incisions). After midline incisions the fascia was closed continuously in 55 patients (65%), using slowly absorbable (n = 47, 55%), braided (n = 32, 38%) sutures with a strength of 1 (n = 48, 57%). In the transverse setting the fascia was closed continuously in 39 patients (72%) with slowly absorbable (n = 22, 41%) braided sutures (n = 27, 50%) with a strength of 1 (n = 30, 56%).
Conclusion
In the present evaluation midline incision was the most frequently applied access in elective open abdominal surgery. None of the treatments for abdominal wall closure (except skin closure in the midline group) is performed on a consensus level.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-9-8
PMCID: PMC2687428  PMID: 19442311
3.  A historically controlled, single-arm, multi-centre, prospective trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of MonoMax® suture material for abdominal wall closure after primary midline laparotomy. ISSAAC-Trial [NCT005725079] 
BMC Surgery  2008;8:12.
Background
Several randomized controlled trials have compared different suture materials and techniques for abdominal wall closure with respect to the incidence of incisional hernias after midline laparotomy and shown that it remains, irrespective of the methods used, considerably high, ranging from 9% to 20%. The development of improved suture materials which would reduce postoperative complications may help to lower its frequency.
Design
This is a historically controlled, single-arm, multi-centre, prospective trial to evaluate the safety of MonoMax® suture material for abdominal wall closure in 150 patients with primary elective midline incisions. INSECT patients who underwent abdominal closure using Monoplus® and PDS® will serve as historical control group. The incidences of wound infections and of burst abdomen are defined as composite primary endpoints. Secondary endpoints are the frequency of incisional hernias within one year after operation and safety. To ensure adequate comparability in surgical performance and recruitment, the 4 largest centres of the INSECT-Trial will participate. After hospital discharge, the investigators will examine the enrolled patients again at 30 days and at 12 ± 1 months after surgery.
Conclusion
This historically controlled, single-arm, multi-centre, prospective ISSAAC trial aims to assess whether the use of an ultra-long-lasting absorbable monofilament suture material is safe and efficient.
Trial registration
NCT005725079
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-8-12
PMCID: PMC2492842  PMID: 18644124
4.  Totally laparoscopic versus conventional ileoanal pouch procedure – design of a single-centre, expertise based randomised controlled trial to compare the laparoscopic and conventional surgical approach in patients undergoing primary elective restorative proctocolectomy- LapConPouch-Trial 
BMC Surgery  2006;6:13.
Background
Restorative proctocolectomy is increasingly being performed minimal invasively but a totally laparoscopic technique has not yet been compared to the standard open technique in a randomized study.
Methods/design
This is a two armed, single centre, expertise based, preoperatively randomized, patient blinded study. It is designed as a two-group parallel superiority study. Power calculation revealed 80 patients per group in order to recruit the 65 patients to be analysed for the primary endpoint. The primary objective is to investigate intra-operative blood loss and the need for blood transfusions. We hypothesise that intra-operative blood loss and the need for peri-operative blood transfusions are significantly higher in the conventional group. Additionally a set of surgical and non-surgical parameters related to the operation will be analysed as secondary objectives. These will include operative time, complications, postoperative pain, lung function, postoperative length of hospital stay, a cosmetic score and pre-and postoperative quality of life.
Discussion
The trial will answer the question whether there is indeed an advantage in the laparoscopic group in regard to blood loss and the need for blood transfusions. Moreover, it will generate data on the safety and potential advantages and disadvantages of the minimally invasive approach.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-6-13
PMCID: PMC1676020  PMID: 17125500
5.  Interrupted or continuous slowly absorbable sutures – Design of a multi-centre randomised trial to evaluate abdominal closure techniques INSECT-Trial [ISRCTN24023541] 
BMC Surgery  2005;5:3.
Background
The closure of the abdomen after median laparotomy is still a matter of debate among surgeons. Further well designed and performed randomised controlled trials determining the optimal method of abdominal fascial closure are needed.
Design
This is a three armed, multi-centre, intra-operatively randomised, controlled, patient blinded trial. Over 20 surgical departments will enrol 600 patients who are planned for an elective primary abdominal operation. The objective of this study is to compare the frequency of abdominal incisional hernias between two continuous suture techniques with different, slowly absorbable monofilament materials and an interrupted suture using an absorbable braided suture material at one year postoperatively.
Conclusion
This trial will answer the question whether the continuous abdominal wall closure with a slowly absorbable material with longitudinal elasticity is superior to the continuous suture with a material lacking elasticity and to interrupted sutures with braided thread.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-5-3
PMCID: PMC554977  PMID: 15755324
6.  Postsurgical pain outcome of vertical and transverse abdominal incision: Design of a randomized controlled equivalence trial [ISRCTN60734227] 
BMC Surgery  2003;3:9.
Background
There are two ways to open the abdominal cavity in elective general surgery: vertically or transversely. Various clinical studies and a meta-analysis have postulated that the transverse approach is superior to other approaches as regards complications. However, in a recent survey it was shown that 90 % of all abdominal incisions in visceral surgery are still vertical incisions. This discrepancy between existing recommendations of clinical trials and clinical practice could be explained by the lack of acceptance of these results due to a number of deficits in the study design and analysis, subsequent low internal validity, and therefore limited external generalisability. The objective of this study is to address the issue from the patient's perspective.
Methods
This is an intraoperatively randomized controlled observer and patient-blinded two-group parallel equivalence trial. The study setting is the Department of General-, Visceral-, Trauma Surgery and Outpatient Clinic of the University of Heidelberg, Medical School. A total of 172 patients of both genders, aged over 18 years who are scheduled for an elective abdominal operation and are eligible for either a transverse or vertical incision. To show equivalence of the two approaches or the superiority of one of them from the perspective of the patient, a primary endpoint is defined: the pain experienced by the patient (VAS 0–100) on day two after surgery and the amount of analgesic required (piritramide [mg/h]). A confidence interval approach will be used for analysis. A global α-Level of 0.05 and a power of 0.8 is guaranteed, resulting in a size of 86 patients for each group. Secondary endpoints are: time interval to open and close the abdomen, early-onset complications (frequency of burst abdomen, postoperative pulmonary complications, and wound infection) and late complications (frequency of incisional hernias). Different outcome variables will be ranked by patients and surgeons to assess the relevance of possible endpoints from the patients' and surgeons' perspective.
Conclusion
This is a randomized controlled observer and patient-blinded two-group parallel trial to answer the question if the transverse abdominal incision is equivalent to the vertical one due to the described endpoints.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-3-9
PMCID: PMC293467  PMID: 14614782

Results 1-6 (6)