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  • Randomised controlled trial of exercise to prevent shoulder problems in women undergoing breast cancer treatment: study protocol for the prevention of shoulder problems trial (UK PROSPER).

    3 July 2018

    Musculoskeletal shoulder problems are common after breast cancer treatment. Early postoperative exercises targeting the upper limb may improve shoulder function. This protocol describes a National Institute for Health Research-funded randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of an early supervised structured exercise programme compared with usual care, for women at high risk of developing shoulder problems after breast cancer surgery. METHODS: This pragmatic two-armed, multicentre RCT is underway within secondary care in the UK. PRevention Of Shoulder ProblEms tRial (PROSPER) aims to recruit 350 women from approximately 15 UK centres with follow-up at 6 weeks, 6 and 12 months after randomisation. Recruitment processes and intervention development were optimised through qualitative research during a 6-month internal pilot phase. Participants are randomised to the PROSPER intervention or best practice usual care only. The PROSPER intervention is delivered by physiotherapists and incorporates three main components: shoulder-specific exercises targeting range of movement and strength; general physical activity and behavioural strategies to encourage adherence and support exercise behaviour. The primary outcome is upper arm function assessed using the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaire at 12 months postrandomisation. Secondary outcomes include DASH subscales, acute and chronic pain, complications, health-related quality of life and healthcare resource use. We will interview a subsample of 20 participants to explore their experiences of the trial interventions. DISCUSSION: The PROSPER study is the first multicentre UK clinical trial to investigate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of supported exercise in the prevention of shoulder problems in high-risk women undergoing breast cancer surgery. The findings will inform future clinical practice and provide valuable insight into the role of physiotherapy-supported exercise in breast cancer rehabilitation. PROTOCOL VERSION: Version 2.1; dated 11 January 2017 TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN35358984; Pre-results.

  • United Kingdom Frozen Shoulder Trial (UK FROST), multi-centre, randomised, 12 month, parallel group, superiority study to compare the clinical and cost-effectiveness of Early Structured Physiotherapy versus manipulation under anaesthesia versus arthroscopic capsular release for patients referred to secondary care with a primary frozen shoulder: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.

    3 July 2018

    BACKGROUND: Frozen shoulder (also known as adhesive capsulitis) occurs when the capsule, or the soft tissue envelope around the ball and socket shoulder joint, becomes scarred and contracted, making the shoulder tight, painful and stiff. It affects around 1 in 12 men and 1 in 10 women of working age. Although this condition can settle with time (typically taking 1 to 3 years), for some people it causes severe symptoms and needs referral to hospital. Our aim is to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of two invasive and costly surgical interventions that are commonly used in secondary care in the National Health Service (NHS) compared with a non-surgical comparator of Early Structured Physiotherapy. METHODS: We will conduct a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of 500 adult patients with a clinical diagnosis of frozen shoulder, and who have radiographs that exclude other pathology. Early Structured Physiotherapy with an intra-articular steroid injection will be compared with manipulation under anaesthesia with a steroid injection or arthroscopic (keyhole) capsular release followed by manipulation. Both surgical interventions will be followed with a programme of post-procedural physiotherapy. These treatments will be undertaken in NHS hospitals across the United Kingdom. The primary outcome and endpoint will be the Oxford Shoulder Score (a patient self-reported assessment of shoulder function) at 12 months. This will also be measured at baseline, 3 and 6 months after randomisation; and on the day that treatment starts and 6 months later. Secondary outcomes include the Disabilities of Arm Shoulder and Hand (QuickDASH) score, the EQ-5D-5 L score, pain, extent of recovery and complications. We will explore the acceptability of the different treatments to patients and health care professionals using qualitative methods. DISCUSSION: The three treatments being compared are the most frequently used in secondary care in the NHS, but there is uncertainty about which one works best and at what cost. UK FROST is a rigorously designed and adequately powered study to inform clinical decisions for the treatment of this common condition in adults. TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Register, ID: ISRCTN48804508 . Registered on 25 July 2014.

  • A Web-Based Training Resource for Therapists to Deliver an Evidence-Based Exercise Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand (iSARAH): Design, Development, and Usability Testing.

    3 July 2018

    BACKGROUND: The Strengthening and Stretching for Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand (SARAH) is a tailored, progressive exercise program for people having difficulties with wrist and hand function due to rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The program was evaluated in a large-scale clinical trial and was found to improve hand function, was safe to deliver, and was cost-effective. These findings led to the SARAH program being recommended in the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines for the management of adults with RA. To facilitate the uptake of this evidence-based program by clinicians, we proposed a Web-based training program for SARAH (iSARAH) to educate and train physiotherapists and occupational therapists on delivering the SARAH program in their practice. The overall iSARAH implementation project was guided by the 5 phases of the analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation (ADDIE) system design model. OBJECTIVE: The objective of our study was to conduct the first 3 phases of the model in the development of the iSARAH project. METHODS: Following publication of the trial, the SARAH program materials were made available to therapists to download from the trial website for use in clinical practice. A total of 35 therapists who downloaded these materials completed an online survey to provide feedback on practice trends in prescribing hand exercises for people with RA, perceived barriers and facilitators to using the SARAH program in clinical practice, and their preferences for the content and Web features of iSARAH. The development and design of iSARAH were further guided by a team of multidisciplinary health professionals (n=17) who took part in a half-day development meeting. We developed the preliminary version of iSARAH and tested it among therapists (n=10) to identify and rectify usability issues and to produce the final version. RESULTS: The major recommendations made by therapists and the multidisciplinary team were having a simple Web design and layout, clear exercise pictures and videos, and compatibility of iSARAH on various browsers and devices. We rectified all usability issues in the preliminary version to develop the final version of iSARAH, which included 4 short modules and additional sections on self-assessment, frequently asked questions, and a resource library. CONCLUSIONS: The use of the ADDIE design model and engagement of end users in the development and evaluation phases have rendered iSARAH a convenient, easy-to-use, and effective Web-based learning resource for therapists on how to deliver the SARAH program. There is also huge potential for adapting iSARAH across different cultures and languages, thus opening more opportunities for wider uptake and application of the SARAH program into practice.

  • Guidelines for the Content of Statistical Analysis Plans in Clinical Trials.

    29 June 2018

    Importance: While guidance on statistical principles for clinical trials exists, there is an absence of guidance covering the required content of statistical analysis plans (SAPs) to support transparency and reproducibility. Objective: To develop recommendations for a minimum set of items that should be addressed in SAPs for clinical trials, developed with input from statisticians, previous guideline authors, journal editors, regulators, and funders. Design: Funders and regulators (n = 39) of randomized trials were contacted and the literature was searched to identify existing guidance; a survey of current practice was conducted across the network of UK Clinical Research Collaboration-registered trial units (n = 46, 1 unit had 2 responders) and a Delphi survey (n = 73 invited participants) was conducted to establish consensus on SAPs. The Delphi survey was sent to statisticians in trial units who completed the survey of current practice (n = 46), CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) and SPIRIT (Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trials) guideline authors (n = 16), pharmaceutical industry statisticians (n = 3), journal editors (n = 9), and regulators (n = 2) (3 participants were included in 2 groups each), culminating in a consensus meeting attended by experts (N = 12) with representatives from each group. The guidance subsequently underwent critical review by statisticians from the surveyed trial units and members of the expert panel of the consensus meeting (N = 51), followed by piloting of the guidance document in the SAPs of 5 trials. Findings: No existing guidance was identified. The registered trials unit survey (46 responses) highlighted diversity in current practice and confirmed support for developing guidance. The Delphi survey (54 of 73, 74% participants completing both rounds) reached consensus on 42% (n = 46) of 110 items. The expert panel (N = 12) agreed that 63 items should be included in the guidance, with an additional 17 items identified as important but may be referenced elsewhere. Following critical review and piloting, some overlapping items were combined, leaving 55 items. Conclusions and Relevance: Recommendations are provided for a minimum set of items that should be addressed and included in SAPs for clinical trials. Trial registration, protocols, and statistical analysis plans are critically important in ensuring appropriate reporting of clinical trials.

  • The satisfactory growth and development at 2 years of age of the INTERGROWTH-21st Fetal Growth Standards cohort support its appropriateness for constructing international standards.

    3 July 2018

    BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization recommends that human growth should be monitored with the use of international standards. However, in obstetric practice, we continue to monitor fetal growth using numerous local charts or equations that are based on different populations for each body structure. Consistent with World Health Organization recommendations, the INTERGROWTH-21st Project has produced the first set of international standards to date pregnancies; to monitor fetal growth, estimated fetal weight, Doppler measures, and brain structures; to measure uterine growth, maternal nutrition, newborn infant size, and body composition; and to assess the postnatal growth of preterm babies. All these standards are based on the same healthy pregnancy cohort. Recognizing the importance of demonstrating that, postnatally, this cohort still adhered to the World Health Organization prescriptive approach, we followed their growth and development to the key milestone of 2 years of age. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the babies in the INTERGROWTH-21st Project maintained optimal growth and development in childhood. STUDY DESIGN: In the Infant Follow-up Study of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project, we evaluated postnatal growth, nutrition, morbidity, and motor development up to 2 years of age in the children who contributed data to the construction of the international fetal growth, newborn infant size and body composition at birth, and preterm postnatal growth standards. Clinical care, feeding practices, anthropometric measures, and assessment of morbidity were standardized across study sites and documented at 1 and 2 years of age. Weight, length, and head circumference age- and sex-specific z-scores and percentiles and motor development milestones were estimated with the use of the World Health Organization Child Growth Standards and World Health Organization milestone distributions, respectively. For the preterm infants, corrected age was used. Variance components analysis was used to estimate the percentage variability among individuals within a study site compared with that among study sites. RESULTS: There were 3711 eligible singleton live births; 3042 children (82%) were evaluated at 2 years of age. There were no substantive differences between the included group and the lost-to-follow up group. Infant mortality rate was 3 per 1000; neonatal mortality rate was 1.6 per 1000. At the 2-year visit, the children included in the INTERGROWTH-21st Fetal Growth Standards were at the 49th percentile for length, 50th percentile for head circumference, and 58th percentile for weight of the World Health Organization Child Growth Standards. Similar results were seen for the preterm subgroup that was included in the INTERGROWTH-21st Preterm Postnatal Growth Standards. The cohort overlapped between the 3rd and 97th percentiles of the World Health Organization motor development milestones. We estimated that the variance among study sites explains only 5.5% of the total variability in the length of the children between birth and 2 years of age, although the variance among individuals within a study site explains 42.9% (ie, 8 times the amount explained by the variation among sites). An increase of 8.9 cm in adult height over mean parental height is estimated to occur in the cohort from low-middle income countries, provided that children continue to have adequate health, environmental, and nutritional conditions. CONCLUSION: The cohort enrolled in the INTERGROWTH-21st standards remained healthy with adequate growth and motor development up to 2 years of age, which supports its appropriateness for the construction of international fetal and preterm postnatal growth standards.

  • Prevalence and reporting of recruitment, randomisation and treatment errors in clinical trials: A systematic review.

    3 July 2018

    Background/aims In clinical trials, it is not unusual for errors to occur during the process of recruiting, randomising and providing treatment to participants. For example, an ineligible participant may inadvertently be randomised, a participant may be randomised in the incorrect stratum, a participant may be randomised multiple times when only a single randomisation is permitted or the incorrect treatment may inadvertently be issued to a participant at randomisation. Such errors have the potential to introduce bias into treatment effect estimates and affect the validity of the trial, yet there is little motivation for researchers to report these errors and it is unclear how often they occur. The aim of this study is to assess the prevalence of recruitment, randomisation and treatment errors and review current approaches for reporting these errors in trials published in leading medical journals. Methods We conducted a systematic review of individually randomised, phase III, randomised controlled trials published in New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association, Annals of Internal Medicine and British Medical Journal from January to March 2015. The number and type of recruitment, randomisation and treatment errors that were reported and how they were handled were recorded. The corresponding authors were contacted for a random sample of trials included in the review and asked to provide details on unreported errors that occurred during their trial. Results We identified 241 potentially eligible articles, of which 82 met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. These trials involved a median of 24 centres and 650 participants, and 87% involved two treatment arms. Recruitment, randomisation or treatment errors were reported in 32 in 82 trials (39%) that had a median of eight errors. The most commonly reported error was ineligible participants inadvertently being randomised. No mention of recruitment, randomisation or treatment errors was found in the remaining 50 of 82 trials (61%). Based on responses from 9 of the 15 corresponding authors who were contacted regarding recruitment, randomisation and treatment errors, between 1% and 100% of the errors that occurred in their trials were reported in the trial publications. Conclusion Recruitment, randomisation and treatment errors are common in individually randomised, phase III trials published in leading medical journals, but reporting practices are inadequate and reporting standards are needed. We recommend researchers report all such errors that occurred during the trial and describe how they were handled in trial publications to improve transparency in reporting of clinical trials.