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  • COMET V meeting summary

    9 January 2018

  • Reporting Research

    12 December 2017

    © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved. This chapter provides a brief overview of general principles of reporting medical research studies with a particular focus on the following study designs: randomised controlled trials, analytical observational studies, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Health-related research can be divided into two broad groups: experimental and observational. A typical example of experimental research design is a randomised controlled trial (RCT). Reporting guidelines provide structured advice on the minimum information to be included in an article reporting a particular type of medical research. There are three main types of observational design: cohort studies, case-control studies and cross-sectional surveys. A minimum set of recommendations for reporting these studies is specified in the STROBE Statement. Similar to the CONSORT Statement. The Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research (EQUATOR) Network is an international initiative that aims to improve the reliability and value of the medical research literature by promoting transparent and accurate reporting of research studies.

  • Fresh frozen plasma for cardiovascular surgery.

    26 March 2018

    BACKGROUND: Fresh frozen plasma (FFP) is a blood component containing procoagulant factors, which is sometimes used in cardiovascular surgery with the aim of reducing the risk of bleeding. The purpose of this review is to assess the risk of mortality for patients undergoing cardiovascular surgery who receive FFP. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the risk to benefit ratio of FFP transfusion in cardiovascular surgery for the treatment of bleeding patients or for prophylaxis against bleeding. SEARCH METHODS: We searched 11 bibliographic databases and four ongoing trials databases including the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, Issue 3, 2015), MEDLINE (OvidSP, 1946 to 21 April 2015), EMBASE (OvidSP, 1974 to 21 April 2015), PubMed (e-publications only: searched 21 April 2015),, World Health Organization (WHO) ICTRP and the ISRCTN Register (searched 21 April 2015). We also searched the references of all identified trials and relevant review articles. We did not limit the searches by language or publication status. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials in patients undergoing major cardiac or vascular surgery who were allocated to a FFP group or a comparator (no plasma or an active comparator, either clinical plasma (any type) or a plasma-derived blood product). We included participants of any age (neonates, children and adults). We excluded studies of plasmapheresis and plasma exchange. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors screened all electronically derived citations and abstracts of papers identified by the review search strategy. Two authors assessed risk of bias in the included studies and extracted data independently. We took care to note whether FFP was used therapeutically or prophylactically within each trial. MAIN RESULTS: We included 15 trials, with a total of 755 participants for analysis in the review. Fourteen trials compared prophylactic use of FFP against no FFP. One study compared therapeutic use of two types of plasma. The timing of intervention varied, including FFP transfusion at the time of heparin neutralisation and stopping cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) (seven trials), with CPB priming (four trials), after anaesthesia induction (one trial) and postoperatively (two trials). Twelve trials excluded patients having emergency surgery and nine excluded patients with coagulopathies.Overall the trials were small, with only four reporting an a priori sample size calculation. No trial was powered to determine changes in mortality as a primary outcome. There was either high risk of bias, or unclear risk, in the majority of trials included in this review.There was no difference in the number of deaths between the intervention arms in the six trials (with 287 patients) reporting mortality (very low quality evidence). There was also no difference in blood loss in the first 24 hours for neonatal/paediatric patients (four trials with 138 patients; low quality evidence): mean difference (MD) -1.46 ml/kg (95% confidence interval (CI) -4.7 to 1.78 ml/kg); or adult patients (one trial with 120 patients): MD -12.00 ml (95% CI -101.16 to 77.16 ml).Transfusion with FFP was inferior to control for preventing patients receiving any red cell transfusion: Peto odds ratio (OR) 2.57 (95% CI 1.30 to 5.08; moderate quality evidence). There was a difference in prothrombin time within two hours of FFP transfusion in eight trials (with 210 patients; moderate quality evidence) favouring the FFP arm: MD -0.71 seconds (95% CI -1.28 to -0.13 seconds). There was no difference in the risk of returning to theatre for reoperation (eight trials with 398 patients; moderate quality evidence): Peto OR 0.81 (95% CI 0.26 to 2.57). Only one included study reported adverse events as an outcome and reported no significant adverse events following FFP transfusion. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: This review has found no evidence to support the prophylactic administration of FFP to patients without coagulopathy undergoing elective cardiac surgery. There was insufficient evidence about treatment of patients with coagulopathies or those who are undergoing emergency surgery. There were no reported adverse events attributable to FFP transfusion, although there was a significant increase in the number of patients requiring red cell transfusion who were randomised to FFP. Variability in outcome reporting between trials precluded meta-analysis for many outcomes across all trials, and there was evidence of a high risk of bias in most of the studies. Further adequately powered studies of FFP, or comparable pro-haemostatic agents, are required to assess whether larger reductions in prothrombin time translate into clinical benefits. Overall the evidence from randomised controlled trials for the safety and efficacy of prophylactic transfusion of FFP for cardiac surgery is insufficient.

  • Red cell transfusion management for patients undergoing cardiac surgery for congenital heart disease.

    23 March 2018

    BACKGROUND: Congenital heart disease is the most commonly diagnosed neonatal congenital condition. Without surgery, only 30% to 40% of patients affected will survive to 10 years old. Mortality has fallen since the 1990s with 2006 to 2007 figures showing surgical survival at one year of 95%. Patients with congenital heart disease are potentially exposed to red cell transfusion at many points in the surgical pathway. There are a number of risks associated with red cell transfusion that may be translated into increased patient morbidity and mortality. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effects of red cell transfusion on mortality and morbidity on patients with congenital heart disease at the time of cardiac surgery. SEARCH METHODS: We searched 11 bibliographic databases and three ongoing trials databases including the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (Issue 5, 2013), MEDLINE (Ovid, 1950 to 11 June 2013), EMBASE (Ovid, 1980 to 11 June 2013),, World Health Organization (WHO) ICTRP and the ISRCTN Register (to June 2013). We also searched references of all identified trials, relevant review articles and abstracts from between 2006 and 2010 of the most relevant conferences. We did not limit the searches by language of publication. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing red cell transfusion interventions in patients undergoing cardiac surgery for congenital heart disease. We included participants of any age (neonates, paediatrics and adults) and with any type of congenital heart disease (cyanotic or acyanotic). We excluded patients with congenital heart disease undergoing non-cardiac surgery. No co-morbidities were excluded. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. We contacted study authors for additional information. MAIN RESULTS: We identified 11 trials (862 participants). All trials were in neonatal or paediatric populations. The trials covered only three areas of interest: restrictive versus liberal transfusion triggers (two trials), leukoreduction versus non-leukoreduction (two trials) and standard versus non-standard cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) prime (seven trials). Owing to the clinical diversity in the participant groups (cyanotic (three trials), acyanotic (four trials) or mixed (four trials)) and the intervention groups, it was not appropriate to pool data in a meta-analysis. No study reported data for all the outcomes of interest to this review. Risk of bias was mixed across the included trials, with only attrition bias being low across all trials. Blinding of study personnel and participants was not always possible, depending on the intervention being used.Five trials (628 participants) reported the primary outcome: 30-day mortality. In three trials (a trial evaluating restrictive and liberal transfusion (125 participants), a trial of cell salvage during CPB (309 participants) and a trial of washed red blood cells during CPB (128 participants)), there was no clear difference in mortality at 30 days between the intervention arms. In two trials comparing standard and non-standard CPB prime, there were no deaths in either randomised group. Long-term mortality was similar between randomised groups in one trial each comparing restrictive and liberal transfusion or standard and non-standard CPB prime.Four trials explored a range of adverse effects following red cell transfusion. Kidney failure was the only adverse event that was significantly different: patients receiving cell salvaged red blood cells during CPB were less likely to have renal failure than patients not exposed to cell salvage (risk ratio (RR) 0.26, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.09 to 0.79, 1 study, 309 participants). There was insufficient evidence to determine whether there was a difference between transfusion strategies for any other severe adverse events.The duration of mechanical ventilation was measured in seven trials (768 participants). Overall, there was no consistent difference in the duration of mechanical ventilation between the intervention and control arms.The duration of intensive care unit (ICU) stay was measured in six trials (459 participants). There was no clear difference in the duration of ICU stay between the intervention arms in the transfusion trigger and leukoreduction trials. In the standard versus non-standard CPB prime trials, one trial examining the impact of washing transfused bypass prime red blood cells showed no clear difference in duration of ICU stay between the intervention arms, while the trial assessing ultrafiltration of the priming blood showed a shorter duration of ICU stay in the ultrafiltration group. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There are only a small number of small and heterogeneous trials so there is insufficient evidence to assess the impact of red cell transfusion on patients with congenital heart disease undergoing cardiac surgery accurately. It is possible that the presence or absence of cyanosis impacts on trial outcomes, which would necessitate different clinical management of two groups. Further adequately powered, specific, high-quality trials are warranted to assess this fully.

  • Adverse effects of small-volume red blood cell transfusions in the neonatal population.

    5 March 2018

    BACKGROUND: Adverse transfusion reactions in the neonatal population are poorly understood and defined. The incidence and pattern of adverse effects due to red blood cell (RBC) transfusion are not well known, and there has been no systematic review of published adverse events. RBC transfusions continue to be linked to the development of morbidities unique to neonates, including chronic lung disease, retinopathy of prematurity, intraventricular haemorrhage and necrotising enterocolitis. Uncertainties about the exact nature of risks alongside benefits of RBC transfusion may contribute to evidence of widespread variation in neonatal RBC transfusion practice.Our review aims to describe clinical adverse effects attributed to small-volume (10-20 mL/kg) RBC transfusions and, where possible, their incidence rates in the neonatal population through the systematic identification of all relevant studies. METHODS: A comprehensive search of the following bibliographic databases will be performed: MEDLINE (PubMed/OVID which includes the Cochrane Library) and EMBASE (OVID). The intervention of interest is small-volume (10-20 mL/kg) RBC transfusions in the neonatal population.We will undertake a narrative synthesis of the evidence. If clinical similarity and data quantity and quality permit, we will also carry out meta-analyses on the listed outcomes. DISCUSSION: This systematic review will identify and synthesise the reported adverse effects and associations of RBC transfusions in the neonatal population. We believe that this systematic review is timely and will make a valuable contribution to highlight an existing research gap. TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO, CRD42013005107

  • The practical role of anti-Müllerian hormone in assisted reproduction.

    8 December 2017

    The objective of this study was to offer a brief critical summary of the literature on the role of AMH in the subfertility work up and during ART, while exploring its role in predicting ART success.