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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

Results 1-4 (4)