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  • Learning curves

    25 September 2018

  • Expertise-based trials

    25 September 2018

  • Pregnancy and Glomerular Disease: A Systematic Review of the Literature with Management Guidelines.

    27 June 2018

    During pregnancy, CKD increases both maternal and fetal risk. Adverse maternal outcomes include progression of underlying renal dysfunction, worsening of urine protein, and hypertension, whereas adverse fetal outcomes include fetal loss, intrauterine growth restriction, and preterm delivery. As such, pregnancy in young women with CKD is anxiety provoking for both the patient and the clinician providing care, and because the heterogeneous group of glomerular diseases often affects young women, this is an area of heightened concern. In this invited review, we discuss pregnancy outcomes in young women with glomerular diseases. We have performed a systematic review in attempt to better understand these outcomes among young women with primary GN, we review the studies of pregnancy outcomes in lupus nephritis, and finally, we provide a potential construct for management. Although it is safe to say that the vast majority of young women with glomerular disease will have a live birth, the counseling that we can provide with respect to individualized risk remains imprecise in primary GN because the existing literature is extremely dated, and all management principles are extrapolated primarily from studies in lupus nephritis and diabetes. As such, the study of pregnancy outcomes and management strategies in these rare diseases requires a renewed interest and a dedicated collaborative effort.

  • Choosing the target difference ('effect size') for a randomised controlled trial - DELTA2 guidance protocol.

    3 July 2018

    BACKGROUND: A key step in the design of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) is the estimation of the number of participants needed. By far the most common approach is to specify a target difference and then estimate the corresponding sample size; this sample size is chosen to provide reassurance that the trial will have high statistical power to detect such a difference between the randomised groups (at the planned statistical significance level). The sample size has many implications for the conduct of the study, as well as carrying scientific and ethical aspects to its choice. Despite the critical role of the target difference for the primary outcome in the design of an RCT, the manner in which it is determined has received little attention. This article reports the protocol of the Difference ELicitation in TriAls (DELTA2) project, which will produce guidance on the specification and reporting of the target difference for the primary outcome in a sample size calculation for RCTs. METHODS/DESIGN: The DELTA2 project has five components: systematic literature reviews of recent methodological developments (stage 1) and existing funder guidance (stage 2); a Delphi study (stage 3); a 2-day consensus meeting bringing together researchers, funders and patient representatives, as well as one-off engagement sessions at relevant stakeholder meetings (stage 4); and the preparation and dissemination of a guidance document (stage 5). DISCUSSION: Specification of the target difference for the primary outcome is a key component of the design of an RCT. There is a need for better guidance for researchers and funders regarding specification and reporting of this aspect of trial design. The aim of this project is to produce consensus based guidance for researchers and funders.

  • Identifying approaches for assessing methodological and reporting quality of systematic reviews: a descriptive study.

    27 June 2018

    BACKGROUND: The methodological quality and completeness of reporting of the systematic reviews (SRs) is fundamental to optimal implementation of evidence-based health care and the reduction of research waste. Methods exist to appraise SRs yet little is known about how they are used in SRs or where there are potential gaps in research best-practice guidance materials. The aims of this study are to identify reports assessing the methodological quality (MQ) and/or reporting quality (RQ) of a cohort of SRs and to assess their number, general characteristics, and approaches to 'quality' assessment over time. METHODS: The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE®, and EMBASE® were searched from January 1990 to October 16, 2014, for reports assessing MQ and/or RQ of SRs. Title, abstract, and full-text screening of all reports were conducted independently by two reviewers. Reports assessing the MQ and/or RQ of a cohort of ten or more SRs of interventions were included. All results are reported as frequencies and percentages of reports. RESULTS: Of 20,765 unique records retrieved, 1189 of them were reviewed for full-text review, of which 76 reports were included. Eight previously published approaches to assessing MQ or reporting guidelines used as proxy to assess RQ were used in 80% (61/76) of identified reports. These included two reporting guidelines (PRISMA and QUOROM) and five quality assessment tools (AMSTAR, R-AMSTAR, OQAQ, Mulrow, Sacks) and GRADE criteria. The remaining 24% (18/76) of reports developed their own criteria. PRISMA, OQAQ, and AMSTAR were the most commonly used published tools to assess MQ or RQ. In conjunction with other approaches, published tools were used in 29% (22/76) of reports, with 36% (8/22) assessing adherence to both PRISMA and AMSTAR criteria and 26% (6/22) using QUOROM and OQAQ. CONCLUSIONS: The methods used to assess quality of SRs are diverse, and none has become universally accepted. The most commonly used quality assessment tools are AMSTAR, OQAQ, and PRISMA. As new tools and guidelines are developed to improve both the MQ and RQ of SRs, authors of methodological studies are encouraged to put thoughtful consideration into the use of appropriate tools to assess quality and reporting.

  • Modelling and estimation of health-related quality of life after hip fracture: A re-analysis of data from a prospective cohort study.

    3 July 2018

    OBJECTIVES: This study investigates the reporting of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients following hip fracture. We compare the relative merits and make recommendations for the use for two methods of measuring HRQoL; (i) including patients who died during follow-up and (ii) including survivors only. METHODS: The World Hip Trauma Evaluation has previously reported changes in HRQoL using EuroQol-5D for patients with hip fractures. We performed additional analysis to investigate the effect of including or excluding those patients who died during the first four months of the follow-up period. RESULTS: The dataset included 503 patients, 25 of whom died between 30 days and four months of injury. There was a statistically significant difference in 30-day HRQoL between those alive (mean 0.331 and standard deviation (sd) 0.360) and those dead (mean 0.156 and sd 0.421) by four months (independent-samples t-test; p 0.022). The estimated difference of 0.175 in HRQoL (95% confidence interval 0.025 to 0.325) was also highly clinically significant. CONCLUSION: When reporting HRQoL for patients after a hip fracture, excluding patients who die during follow-up leads to an overestimate of the effects of the intervention or treatment pathway. We would recommend that death-adjusted estimates should be used routinely when reporting HRQoL in this population.Cite this article: N. Parsons, X. L. Griffin, J. Achten, T. J. Chesser, S. E. Lamb, M. L. Costa. Modelling and estimation of health-related quality of life after hip fracture: A re-analysis of data from a prospective cohort study. Bone Joint Res 2018;7:1-5.

  • Evaluation of a prediction model for colorectal cancer: retrospective analysis of 2.5 million patient records.

    3 July 2018

    Earlier detection of colorectal cancer greatly improves prognosis, largely through surgical excision of neoplastic polyps. These include benign adenomas which can transform over time to malignant adenocarcinomas. This progression may be associated with changes in full blood count indices. An existing risk algorithm derived in Israel stratifies individuals according to colorectal cancer risk using full blood count data, but has not been validated in the UK. We undertook a retrospective analysis using the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Patients aged over 40 with full blood count data were risk-stratified and followed up for a diagnosis of colorectal cancer over a range of time intervals. The primary outcome was the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the 18-24-month interval. We also undertook a case-control analysis (matching for age, sex, and year of risk score), and a cohort study of patients undergoing full blood count testing during 2012, to estimate predictive values. We included 2,550,119 patients. The area under the curve for the 18-24-month interval was 0.776 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.771, 0.781]. Performance improves as the time interval reduces. The area under the curve for the age-matched case-control analysis was 0.583 [0.574, 0.591]. For the population risk-scored in 2012, the positive predictive value at 99.5% specificity was 8.8% with negative predictive value 99.6%. The algorithm offers an additional means of identifying risk of colorectal cancer, and could support other approaches to early detection, including screening and active case finding.