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  • Intramedullary nail fixation versus locking plate fixation for adults with a fracture of the distal tibia: the UK FixDT RCT.

    3 July 2018

    BACKGROUND: The best treatment for fractures of the distal tibia remains controversial. Most of these fractures require surgical fixation, but the outcomes are unpredictable and complications are common. OBJECTIVES: To assess disability, quality of life, complications and resource use in patients treated with intramedullary (IM) nail fixation versus locking plate fixation in the 12 months following a fracture of the distal tibia. DESIGN: This was a multicentre randomised trial. SETTING: The trial was conducted in 28 UK acute trauma centres from April 2013 to final follow-up in February 2017. PARTICIPANTS: In total, 321 adult patients were recruited. Participants were excluded if they had open fractures, fractures involving the ankle joint, contraindication to nailing or inability to complete questionnaires. INTERVENTIONS: IM nail fixation (n = 161), in which a metal rod is inserted into the hollow centre of the tibia, versus locking plate fixation (n = 160), in which a plate is attached to the surface of the tibia with fixed-angle screws. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measure was the Disability Rating Index (DRI) score, which ranges from 0 points (no disability) to 100 points (complete disability), at 6 months with a minimum clinically important difference of 8 points. The DRI score was also collected at 3 and 12 months. The secondary outcomes were the Olerud-Molander Ankle Score (OMAS), quality of life as measured using EuroQol-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D), complications such as infection, and further surgery. Resource use was collected to inform the health economic evaluation. RESULTS: Participants had a mean age of 45 years (standard deviation 16.2 years), were predominantly male (61%, 197/321) and had experienced traumatic injury after a fall (69%, 223/321). There was no statistically significant difference in DRI score at 6 months [IM nail fixation group, mean 29.8 points, 95% confidence interval (CI) 26.1 to 33.7 points; locking plate group, mean 33.8 points, 95% CI 29.7 to 37.9 points; adjusted difference, 4.0 points, 95% CI -1.0 to 9.0 points; p = 0.11]. There was a statistically significant difference in DRI score at 3 months in favour of IM nail fixation (IM nail fixation group, mean 44.2 points, 95% CI 40.8 to 47.6 points; locking plate group, mean 52.6 points, 95% CI 49.3 to 55.9 points; adjusted difference 8.8 points, 95% CI 4.3 to 13.2 points; p < 0.001), but not at 12 months (IM nail fixation group, mean 23.1 points, 95% CI 18.9 to 27.2 points; locking plate group, 24.0 points, 95% CI 19.7 to 28.3 points; adjusted difference 1.9 points, 95% CI -3.2 to 6.9 points; p = 0.47). Secondary outcomes showed the same pattern, including a statistically significant difference in mean OMAS and EQ-5D scores at 3 and 6 months in favour of IM nail fixation. There were no statistically significant differences in complications, including the number of postoperative infections (13% in the locking plate group and 9% in the IM nail fixation group). Further surgery was more common in the locking plate group (12% in locking plate group and 8% in IM nail fixation group at 12 months). The economic evaluation showed that IM nail fixation provided a slightly higher quality of life in the 12 months after injury and at lower cost and, therefore, it was cost-effective compared with locking plate fixation. The probability of cost-effectiveness for IM nail fixation exceeded 90%, regardless of the value of the cost-effectiveness threshold. LIMITATIONS: As wound dressings after surgery are clearly visible, it was not possible to blind the patients to their treatment allocation. This evidence does not apply to intra-articular (pilon) fractures of the distal tibia. CONCLUSIONS: Among adults with an acute fracture of the distal tibia who were randomised to IM nail fixation or locking plate fixation, there were similar disability ratings at 6 months. However, recovery across all outcomes was faster in the IM nail fixation group and costs were lower. FUTURE WORK: The potential benefit of IM nail fixation in several other fractures requires investigation. Research is also required into the role of adjuvant treatment and different rehabilitation strategies to accelerate recovery following a fracture of the tibia and other long-bone fractures in the lower limb. The patients in this trial will remain in longer-term follow-up. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN99771224 and UKCRN 13761. FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 22, No. 25. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.

  • Aerobic and strength training exercise programme for cognitive impairment in people with mild to moderate dementia: the DAPA RCT.

    20 July 2018

    BACKGROUND: Approximately 670,000 people in the UK have dementia. Previous literature suggests that physical exercise could slow dementia symptom progression. OBJECTIVES: To estimate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a bespoke exercise programme, in addition to usual care, on the cognitive impairment (primary outcome), function and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of people with mild to moderate dementia (MMD) and carer burden and HRQoL. DESIGN: Intervention development, systematic review, multicentred, randomised controlled trial (RCT) with a parallel economic evaluation and qualitative study. SETTING: 15 English regions. PARTICIPANTS: People with MMD living in the community. INTERVENTION: A 4-month moderate- to high-intensity, structured exercise programme designed specifically for people with MMD, with support to continue unsupervised physical activity thereafter. Exercises were individually prescribed and progressed, and participants were supervised in groups. The comparator was usual practice. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale - Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog). The secondary outcomes were function [as measured using the Bristol Activities of Daily Living Scale (BADLS)], generic HRQoL [as measured using the EuroQol-5 Dimensions, three-level version (EQ-5D-3L)], dementia-related QoL [as measured using the Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Disease (QoL-AD) scale], behavioural symptoms [as measured using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI)], falls and fractures, physical fitness (as measured using the 6-minute walk test) and muscle strength. Carer outcomes were HRQoL (Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Disease) (as measured using the EQ-5D-3L) and carer burden (as measured using the Zarit Burden Interview). The economic evaluation was expressed in terms of incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained from a NHS and Personal Social Services perspective. We measured health and social care use with the Client Services Receipt Inventory. Participants were followed up for 12 months. RESULTS: Between February 2013 and June 2015, 494 participants were randomised with an intentional unequal allocation ratio: 165 to usual care and 329 to the intervention. The mean age of participants was 77 years [standard deviation (SD) 7.9 years], 39% (193/494) were female and the mean baseline ADAS-Cog score was 21.5 (SD 9.0). Participants in the intervention arm achieved high compliance rates, with 65% (214/329) attending between 75% and 100% of sessions. Outcome data were obtained for 85% (418/494) of participants at 12 months, at which point a small, statistically significant negative treatment effect was found in the primary outcome, ADAS-Cog (patient reported), with a mean difference of -1.4 [95% confidence interval (CI) -2.62 to -0.17]. There were no treatment effects for any of the other secondary outcome measures for participants or carers: for the BADLS there was a mean difference of -0.6 (95% CI -2.05 to 0.78), for the EQ-5D-3L a mean difference of -0.002 (95% CI -0.04 to 0.04), for the QoL-AD scale a mean difference of 0.7 (95% CI -0.21 to 1.65) and for the NPI a mean difference of -2.1 (95% CI -4.83 to 0.65). Four serious adverse events were reported. The exercise intervention was dominated in health economic terms. LIMITATIONS: In the absence of definitive guidance and rationale, we used a mixed exercise programme. Neither intervention providers nor participants could be masked to treatment allocation. CONCLUSIONS: This is a large well-conducted RCT, with good compliance to exercise and research procedures. A structured exercise programme did not produce any clinically meaningful benefit in function or HRQoL in people with dementia or on carer burden. FUTURE WORK: Future work should concentrate on approaches other than exercise to influence cognitive impairment in dementia. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN32612072. FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment Vol. 22, No. 28. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information. Additional funding was provided by the Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre and the Oxford NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care.

  • Out-of-hours discharge from intensive care, in-hospital mortality and intensive care readmission rates: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

    3 July 2018

    PURPOSE: Discharge from an intensive care unit (ICU) out of hours is common. We undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis to explore the association between time of discharge and mortality/ICU readmission. METHODS: We searched Medline, Embase, Web of Knowledge, CINAHL, the Cochrane Library and OpenGrey to June 2017. We included studies reporting in-hospital mortality and/or ICU readmission rates by ICU discharge "out-of-hours" and "in-hours". Inclusion was limited to patients aged ≥ 16 years discharged alive from a non-specialist ICU to a lower level of hospital care. Studies restricted to specific diseases were excluded. We assessed study quality using the Newcastle Ottowa Scale. We extracted published data, summarising using a random-effects meta-analysis. RESULTS: Our searches identified 1961 studies. We included unadjusted data from 1,191,178 patients from 18 cohort studies (presenting data from 1994 to 2014). "Out of hours" had multiple definitions, beginning between 16:00 and 22:00 and ending between 05:59 and 09:00. Patients discharged out of hours had higher in-hospital mortality [relative risk (95% CI) 1.39 (1.24, 1.57) p < 0.0001] and readmission rates [1·30 (1.19, 1.42), p < 0.001] than patients discharged in hours. Heterogeneity was high (I2 90.1% for mortality and 90.2% for readmission), resulting from differences in effect size rather than the presence of an effect. CONCLUSIONS: Out-of-hours discharge from an ICU is strongly associated with both in-hospital death and ICU readmission. These effects persisted across all definitions of "out of hours" and across healthcare systems in different geographical locations. Whether these increases in mortality and readmission result from patient differences, differences in care, or a combination remains unclear.

  • Systematic review with meta-analysis: prevalence, risk factors and costs of aminosalicylate use in Crohn's disease.

    3 July 2018

    BACKGROUND: Aminosalicylates are the most frequently prescribed drugs for patients with Crohn's disease (CD), yet evidence to support their efficacy as induction or maintenance therapy is controversial. AIMS: To quantify aminosalicylate use in CD clinical trials, identify factors associated with use and estimate direct annual treatment costs of therapy. METHODS: MEDLINE, Embase and CENTRAL were searched to April 2017 for placebo-controlled trials in adults with CD treated with corticosteroids, immunosuppressants or biologics. The proportion of patients co-prescribed aminosalicylates in placebo arms was pooled using a random-effects model. Meta-regression was used to identify factors associated with aminosalicylate use. Annual treatment costs were estimated using the 2016 Ontario Drug Benefit Program. RESULTS: Forty-two induction and 10 maintenance trials were included. The pooled proportion of patients co-prescribed aminosalicylates was 44% [95% CI: 39%-49%] in induction trials and 49% [95% CI: 35%-64%] in maintenance trials. There was substantial to considerable heterogeneity (I2  = 86.0%, 91.8% for induction and maintenance trials, respectively). In multivariable meta-regression, aminosalicylate use has decreased over time in induction trials (OR 0.50 [95% CI: 0.34-0.74] per 10-year increment). While a decline has been seen over time, 35% of CD patients were still using aminosalicylates in contemporary trials from the last 5 years. The estimated annual cost for the lowest price mesalazine (mesalamine) formulation is approximately $32 million for the Canadian CD population. CONCLUSIONS: Over one-third of CD patients entering clinical trials are still co-prescribed aminosalicylates. A definitive trial is needed to inform the conventional practice of using aminosalicylates as CD maintenance therapy.

  • Standard wound management versus negative-pressure wound therapy in the treatment of adult patients having surgical incisions for major trauma to the lower limb-a two-arm parallel group superiority randomised controlled trial: protocol for Wound Healing in Surgery for Trauma (WHIST).

    3 July 2018

    INTRODUCTION: Patients with closed high-energy injuries associated with major trauma have surprisingly high rates of surgical site infection in incisions created during fracture fixation. One factor that may reduce the risk of surgical site infection is the type of dressing applied over the closed surgical incision. In this multicentre randomised clinical trial, negative-pressure wound therapy will be compared with standard dressings with outcomes of deep infection, quality of life, pain and disability. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Adult patients presenting to hospital within 72 hours of sustaining major trauma, requiring a surgical incision to treat a fractured lower limb, are eligible for inclusion. Randomisation, stratified by trial centre, open/closed fracture at presentation and Injury Severity Score (ISS) ≤15 versus ISS ≥16 will be administered via a secure web-based service using minimisation. The random allocation will be to either standard wound management or negative-pressure wound therapy.Trial participants will usually have clinical follow-up at the local fracture clinic for a minimum of 6 months, as per standard National Health Service practice. Diagnosis of deep infection will be recorded at 30 days. Functional, pain and quality of life outcome data will be collected using the Disability Rating Index, Douleur Neuropathique Questionnaire and Euroqol - 5 Dimension - 5 level (EQ-5D-5L) questionnaires at 3 months and 6 months postinjury. Further data will be captured on resource use and any late postoperative complications.Longer term outcomes will be assessed annually for 5 years and reported separately. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: National Research Ethics Committee approved this study on 16 February 2016 16/WM/0006.The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment monograph and a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal will be submitted on completion of this trial. The results of this trial will inform clinical practice on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the treatment of this injury. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN12702354; Pre-results.