Publications by authors named "Graeme MacLennan"

147 Publications

Equity of access to critical care services in Scotland: A Bayesian spatial analysis.

J Intensive Care Soc 2021 May 27;22(2):127-135. Epub 2020 Mar 27.

Division of Acute Care Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, USA.

Background: There is increasing evidence that access to critical care services is not equitable. We aimed to investigate whether location of residence in Scotland impacts on the risk of admission to an Intensive Care Unit and on outcomes.

Methods: This was a population-based Bayesian spatial analysis of adult patients admitted to Intensive Care Units in Scotland between January 2011 and December 2015. We used a Besag-York-Mollié model that allows us to make direct probabilistic comparisons between areas regarding risk of admission to Intensive Care Units and on outcomes.

Results: A total of 17,596 patients were included. The five-year age- and sex-standardised admission rate was 352 per 100,000 residents. There was a cluster of Council Areas in the North-East of the country which had lower adjusted admission rates than the Scottish average. Midlothian, in South East Scotland had higher spatially adjusted admission rates than the Scottish average. There was no evidence of geographical variation in mortality.

Conclusion: Access to critical care services in Scotland varies with location of residence. Possible reasons include differential co-morbidity burden, service provision and access to critical care services. In contrast, the probability of surviving an Intensive Care Unit admission, if admitted, does not show geographical variation.
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May 2021

The IDENTIFY Study: The Investigation and Detection of Urological Neoplasia in Patients Referred with Suspected Urinary Tract Cancer; A multicentre observational study.

BJU Int 2021 May 14. Epub 2021 May 14.

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Swindon, UK.

Objective: To evaluate the contemporary prevalence of urinary tract cancer (bladder cancer, upper tract urothelial cancer (UTUC) and renal cancer) in patients referred to secondary care with haematuria, adjusted for established patient risk markers and geographical variation.

Patients And Methods: This was an international multicentre prospective observational study. We included patients aged 16 and over, referred to secondary care with suspected urinary tract cancer. Patients with a known or previous urological malignancy were excluded. We estimated the prevalence of bladder cancer, UTUC, renal cancer and prostate cancer; stratified by age, type of haematuria, sex and smoking. We used a multivariable mixed effects logistic regression to adjust cancer prevalence for age, type of haematuria, sex, smoking, hospitals and countries.

Results: Of the 11,059 patients assessed for eligibility, 10,896 were included from 110 hospitals across 26 countries. The overall adjusted cancer prevalence (n=2257) was 28.2% (95% CI 22.3-34.1), bladder cancer (n=1951) 24.7% (19.1-30.2), UTUC (n=128) 1.14% (0.77-1.52), renal cancer (n=107) 1.05% (0.80-1.29) and prostate cancer (n=124) 1.75% (1.32-2.18). Odds ratios for patient risk markers in the model for all cancers were: Age 1.04 (95% CI 1.03-1.05) p<0.001, visible haematuria 3.47 (2.90-4.15) p<0.0001, male sex 1.30 (1.14-1.50) p<0.001 and smoking 2.70 (2.30-3.18) p<0.001.

Conclusions: A better understanding of cancer prevalence across an international population is required to inform clinical guidelines. We are the first to report urinary tract cancer prevalence across an international population in patients referred to secondary care, adjusted for patient risk markers and geographical variation. Bladder cancer was the most prevalent disease. Visible haematuria was the strongest predictor for urinary tract cancer.
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May 2021

Primary trabeculectomy for advanced glaucoma: pragmatic multicentre randomised controlled trial (TAGS).

BMJ 2021 05 12;373:n1014. Epub 2021 May 12.

Centre for Healthcare Randomised Trials (CHaRT), Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, UK.

Objective: To determine whether primary trabeculectomy or primary medical treatment produces better outcomes in term of quality of life, clinical effectiveness, and safety in patients presenting with advanced glaucoma.

Design: Pragmatic multicentre randomised controlled trial.

Setting: 27 secondary care glaucoma departments in the UK.

Participants: 453 adults presenting with newly diagnosed advanced open angle glaucoma in at least one eye (Hodapp classification) between 3 June 2014 and 31 May 2017.

Interventions: Mitomycin C augmented trabeculectomy (n=227) and escalating medical management with intraocular pressure reducing drops (n=226) MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcome: vision specific quality of life measured with Visual Function Questionnaire-25 (VFQ-25) at 24 months.

Secondary Outcomes: general health status, glaucoma related quality of life, clinical effectiveness (intraocular pressure, visual field, visual acuity), and safety.

Results: At 24 months, the mean VFQ-25 scores in the trabeculectomy and medical arms were 85.4 (SD 13.8) and 84.5 (16.3), respectively (mean difference 1.06, 95% confidence interval -1.32 to 3.43; P=0.38). Mean intraocular pressure was 12.4 (SD 4.7) mm Hg for trabeculectomy and 15.1 (4.8) mm Hg for medical management (mean difference -2.8 (-3.8 to -1.7) mm Hg; P<0.001). Adverse events occurred in 88 (39%) patients in the trabeculectomy arm and 100 (44%) in the medical management arm (relative risk 0.88, 95% confidence interval 0.66 to 1.17; P=0.37). Serious side effects were rare.

Conclusion: Primary trabeculectomy had similar quality of life and safety outcomes and achieved a lower intraocular pressure compared with primary medication.

Trial Registration: Health Technology Assessment (NIHR-HTA) Programme (project number: 12/35/38). ISRCTN registry: ISRCTN56878850.
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May 2021

Shockwave Lithotripsy Versus Ureteroscopic Treatment as Therapeutic Interventions for Stones of the Ureter (TISU): A Multicentre Randomised Controlled Non-inferiority Trial.

Eur Urol 2021 Mar 30. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

NHS Grampian, Department of Urology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, UK.

Background: Renal stone disease is common and can cause emergency presentation with acute pain due to ureteric colic. International guidelines have stated the need for a multicentre randomised controlled trial (RCT) to determine whether a non-invasive outpatient (shockwave lithotripsy [SWL]) or surgical (ureteroscopy [URS]) intervention should be the first-line treatment for those needing active intervention. This has implications for shaping clinical pathways.

Objective: To report a pragmatic multicentre non-inferiority RCT comparing SWL with URS.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This trial tested for non-inferiority of up to two sessions of SWL compared with URS as initial treatment for ureteric stones requiring intervention.

Outcome Measurements And Statistical Analysis: The primary outcome was whether further intervention was required to clear the stone, and secondary outcomes included quality of life assessment, severity of pain, and serious complications; these were based on questionnaires at baseline, 8 wk, and 6 mo. We included patients over 16 yr with a single ureteric stone clinically deemed to require intervention. Intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses were planned.

Results And Limitations: The study recruited between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2017. We recruited 613 participants from a total of 1291 eligible patients, randomising 306 to SWL and 307 to URS. Sixty-seven patients (22.1%) in the SWL arm needed further treatment compared with 31 patients (10.3%) in the URS arm. The absolute risk difference was 11.7% (95% confidence interval 5.6%, 17.8%) in favour of URS, which was inside the 20% threshold we set for demonstrating noninferiority of SWL.

Conclusions: This RCT was designed to test whether SWL is non-inferior to URS and confirmed this; although SWL is an outpatient noninvasive treatment with potential advantages both for patients and for reducing the use of inpatient health care resources, the trial showed a benefit in overall clinical outcomes with URS compared with SWL, reflecting contemporary practice. The Therapeutic Interventions for Stones of the Ureter (TISU) study provides new evidence to help guide the choice of modality for this common health condition.

Patient Summary: We present the largest trial comparing ureteroscopy versus extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy for ureteric stones. While ureteroscopy had marginally improved outcome in terms of stone clearance, as expected, shockwave lithotripsy had better results in terms of health care costs. These results should enable patients and health care providers to optimise treatment pathways for this common urological condition.
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March 2021

Evaluation of the Arabin cervical pessary for prevention of preterm birth in women with a twin pregnancy and short cervix (STOPPIT-2): An open-label randomised trial and updated meta-analysis.

PLoS Med 2021 Mar 29;18(3):e1003506. Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Multiple Births Foundation, London, United Kingdom.

Background: Preterm-labour-associated preterm birth is a common cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity in twin pregnancy. We aimed to test the hypothesis that the Arabin pessary would reduce preterm-labour-associated preterm birth by 40% or greater in women with a twin pregnancy and a short cervix.

Methods And Findings: We conducted an open-label randomised controlled trial in 57 hospital antenatal clinics in the UK and Europe. From 1 April 2015 to 14 February 2019, 2,228 women with a twin pregnancy underwent cervical length screening between 18 weeks 0 days and 20 weeks 6 days of gestation. In total, 503 women with cervical length ≤ 35 mm were randomly assigned to pessary in addition to standard care (n = 250, mean age 32.4 years, mean cervical length 29 mm, with pessary inserted in 230 women [92.0%]) or standard care alone (n = 253, mean age 32.7 years, mean cervical length 30 mm). The pessary was inserted before 21 completed weeks of gestation and removed at between 35 and 36 weeks or before birth if earlier. The primary obstetric outcome, spontaneous onset of labour and birth before 34 weeks 0 days of gestation, was present in 46/250 (18.4%) in the pessary group compared to 52/253 (20.6%) following standard care alone (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.87 [95% CI 0.55-1.38], p = 0.54). The primary neonatal outcome-a composite of any of stillbirth, neonatal death, periventricular leukomalacia, early respiratory morbidity, intraventricular haemorrhage, necrotising enterocolitis, or proven sepsis, from birth to 28 days after the expected date of delivery-was present in 67/500 infants (13.4%) in the pessary group compared to 76/506 (15.0%) following standard care alone (aOR 0.86 [95% CI 0.54-1.36], p = 0.50). The positive and negative likelihood ratios of a short cervix (≤35 mm) to predict preterm birth before 34 weeks were 2.14 and 0.83, respectively. A meta-analysis of data from existing publications (4 studies, 313 women) and from STOPPIT-2 indicated that a cervical pessary does not reduce preterm birth before 34 weeks in women with a short cervix (risk ratio 0.74 [95% CI 0.50-1.11], p = 0.15). No women died in either arm of the study; 4.4% of babies in the Arabin pessary group and 5.5% of babies in the standard treatment group died in utero or in the neonatal period (p = 0.53). Study limitations include lack of power to exclude a smaller than 40% reduction in preterm labour associated preterm birth, and to be conclusive about subgroup analyses.

Conclusions: These results led us to reject our hypothesis that the Arabin pessary would reduce the risk of the primary outcome by 40%. Smaller treatment effects cannot be ruled out.

Trial Registration: ISRCTN Registry ISRCTN 02235181. NCT02235181.
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March 2021

Protocol for a randomised controlled trial comparing laparoscopic cholecystectomy with observation/conservative management for preventing recurrent symptoms and complications in adults with uncomplicated symptomatic gallstones (C-Gall trial).

BMJ Open 2021 03 25;11(3):e039781. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen Health Services Research Unit, Aberdeen, UK.

Background: Gallstone disease (cholelithiasis) is common. In most people it is asymptomatic and does not require treatment, but in about 20% it can become symptomatic, causing pain and other complications requiring medical attention and/or surgery. A proportion of symptomatic people with uncomplicated gallstone disease do not experience further episodes of pain and, therefore, could be treated conservatively. Moreover, surgery carries risks of perioperative and postoperative complications.

Methods And Analysis: C-Gall is a pragmatic, multicentre, randomised controlled trial and economic evaluation to assess whether cholecystectomy is cost-effective compared with observation/ conservative management (here after referred to as medical management) at 18 months post-randomisation (with internal pilot).

Primary Outcome Measure: Patient-reported quality of life (QoL) (36-Item Short Form Survey (SF-36) bodily pain domain) up to 18 months after randomisation.The primary economic outcome is incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year gained at 18 months.

Secondary Outcome Measures: Secondary outcome measures include condition-specific QoL, SF-36 domains, complications, further treatment, persistent symptoms, healthcare resource use, and costs assessed at 18 and 24 months after randomisation. The bodily pain domain of the SF-36 will also be assessed at 24 months after randomisation.A sample size of 430 participants was calculated. Computer-generated 1:1 randomisation was used.The C-Gall Study is currently in follow-up in 20 UK research centres. The first patient was randomised on 1 August 2016, with follow-up to be completed by 30 November 2021.

Statistical Analysis: Statistical analysis of the primary outcome will be intention-to-treat and a per-protocol analysis. The primary outcome, area under the curve (AUC) for the SF-36 bodily pain up to 18 months, will be generated using the Trapezium rule and analysed using linear regression with adjustment for the minimisation variables (recruitment site, sex and age). For the secondary outcome, SF-36 bodily pain, AUC up to 24 months will be analysed in a similar way. Other secondary outcomes will be analysed using generalised linear models with adjustment for minimisation and baseline variables, as appropriate. Statistical significance will be at the two-sided 5% level with corresponding CIs.

Ethics And Dissemination: The North of Scotland Research Ethics Committee approved this study (16/NS/0053). The dissemination plans include Health Technology Assessment monograph, international scientific meetings and publications in high-impact, open-access journals.

Trial Registration Number: ISRCTN55215960; pre-results.
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March 2021

Have you had bleeding from your gums? Self-report to identify giNGival inflammation (The SING diagnostic accuracy and diagnostic model development study).

J Clin Periodontol 2021 Jul 7;48(7):919-928. Epub 2021 May 7.

Health Services Research Unit, Centre for Healthcare Randomized Trials, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.

Aim: To assess the diagnostic performance of self-reported oral health questions and develop a diagnostic model with additional risk factors to predict clinical gingival inflammation in systemically healthy adults in the United Kingdom.

Methods: Gingival inflammation was measured by trained staff and defined as bleeding on probing (present if bleeding sites ≥ 30%). Sensitivity and specificity of self-reported questions were calculated; a diagnostic model to predict gingival inflammation was developed and its performance (calibration and discrimination) assessed.

Results: We included 2853 participants. Self-reported questions about bleeding gums had the best performance: the highest sensitivity was 0.73 (95% CI 0.70, 0.75) for a Likert item and the highest specificity 0.89 (95% CI 0.87, 0.90) for a binary question. The final diagnostic model included self-reported bleeding, oral health behaviour, smoking status, previous scale and polish received. Its area under the curve was 0.65 (95% CI 0.63-0.67).

Conclusion: This is the largest assessment of diagnostic performance of self-reported oral health questions and the first diagnostic model developed to diagnose gingival inflammation. A self-reported bleeding question or our model could be used to rule in gingival inflammation since they showed good sensitivity, but are limited in identifying healthy individuals and should be externally validated.
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July 2021

Why trials lose participants: A multitrial investigation of participants' perspectives using the theoretical domains framework.

J Clin Epidemiol 2021 Mar 13;137:1-13. Epub 2021 Mar 13.

Health Services Research Unit, Health Sciences Building, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK. Electronic address:

Objectives: To use the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) to identify barriers and enablers to participant retention in trials requiring questionnaire return and/or attendance at follow-up clinics.

Study Design And Setting: We invited participants (n = 607) from five pragmatic effectiveness trials, who missed at least one follow-up time point (by not returning a questionnaire and/or not attending a clinic visit), to take part in semistructured telephone interviews. The TDF informed both data collection and analysis. To establish what barriers and enablers most likely influence the target behavior the domain relevance threshold was set at >75% of participants mentioning the domain.

Results: Sixteen participants (out of 25 showing interest) were interviewed. Overall, seven theoretical domains were identified as both barriers and enablers to the target behaviors of attending clinic appointments and returning postal questionnaires. Barriers frequently reported in relation to both target behaviours stemmed from participants' knowledge, beliefs about their capabilities and the consequences of performing (or not performing) the behavior. Two domains were identified as salient for questionnaire return only: goals; and memory, attention and decision-making. Emotion was identified as relevant for clinic attendance only.

Conclusion: This is the first study informed by behavioural science to explore trial participants' accounts of trial retention. Findings will serve as a guiding framework when designing trials to limit barriers and enhance enablers of retention within clinical trials.
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March 2021

Outcomes of a Noninferiority Randomised Controlled Trial of Surgery for Men with Urodynamic Stress Incontinence After Prostate Surgery (MASTER).

Eur Urol 2021 Jun 4;79(6):812-823. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Health Services Research Unit (HSRU), University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.

Background: Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is common after radical prostatectomy and likely to persist despite conservative treatment. The sling is an emerging operation for persistent SUI, but randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparison with the established artificial urinary sphincter (AUS) is lacking.

Objective: To compare the outcomes of surgery in men with bothersome urodynamic SUI after prostate surgery.

Design, Setting, And Participants: A noninferiority RCT was conducted among men with bothersome urodynamic SUI from 27 UK centres. Blinding was not possible due the surgeries.

Intervention: Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to the male transobturator sling (n = 190) or the AUS (n = 190) group.

Outcome Measurements And Statistical Analysis: The primary outcome was patient-reported SUI 12 mo after randomisation, collected from postal questionnaire using a composite outcome from two items in validated International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Urinary Incontinence Short Form questionnaire (ICIQ-UI SF). Noninferiority margin was 15%, thought to be of acceptable lower effectiveness, in return for reduced adverse events (AEs) and easier operation, for the sling. Secondary outcomes were operative and postoperative details, patient-reported measures, and AEs, up to 12 mo after surgery.

Results And Limitations: A total of 380 participants were included. At 12 mo after randomisation, incontinence rates were 134/154 (87.0%) for male sling versus 133/158 (84.2%) for AUS (difference 3.6% [95% confidence interval {CI} -11.6 to 4.6], p = 0.003), showing noninferiority. Incontinence symptoms (ICIQ-UI SF) reduced from scores of 16.1 and 16.4 at baseline to 8.7 and 7.5 for male sling and AUS, respectively (mean difference 1.4 [95% CI 0.2-2.6], p =  0.02). Serious AEs (SAEs) were few: n = 6 and n = 13 for male sling and AUS (one man had three SAEs), respectively. Quality of life scores improved, and satisfaction was high in both groups. All other secondary outcomes that show statistically significant differences favour the AUS.

Conclusions: Using a strict definition, urinary incontinence rates remained high, with no evidence of difference between male sling and AUS. Symptoms and quality of life improved significantly in both groups, and men were generally satisfied with both procedures. Overall, secondary and post hoc analyses were in favour of AUS.

Patient Summary: Urinary incontinence after prostatectomy has considerable effect on men's quality of life. MASTER shows that if surgery is needed, both surgical options result in fewer symptoms and high satisfaction, despite most men not being completely dry. However, most other results indicate that men having an artificial urinary sphincter have better outcomes than those who have a sling.
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June 2021

Psychological intervention, antipsychotic medication or a combined treatment for adolescents with a first episode of psychosis: the MAPS feasibility three-arm RCT.

Health Technol Assess 2021 Jan;25(4):1-124

Warneford Hospital, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK.

Background: When psychosis emerges in young people there is a risk of poorer outcomes, and access to evidence-based treatments is paramount. The current evidence base is limited. Antipsychotic medications show only a small benefit over placebo, but young people experience more side effects than adults. There is sparse evidence for psychological intervention. Research is needed to determine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of psychological intervention versus antipsychotic medication versus a combined treatment for adolescents with psychosis.

Objectives: The objective of Managing Adolescent first-episode Psychosis: a feasibility Study (MAPS) was to determine the feasibility of conducting a definitive trial to answer the question of clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of these three treatment options.

Design: This was a prospective, randomised, open-blinded, evaluation feasibility trial with a single blind. Participants were allocated 1 : 1 : 1 to receive antipsychotic medication, psychological intervention or a combination of both. A thematic qualitative study explored the acceptability and feasibility of the trial.

Setting: Early intervention in psychosis services and child and adolescent mental health services in Manchester, Oxford, Lancashire, Sussex, Birmingham, Norfolk and Suffolk, and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear.

Participants: People aged 14-18 years experiencing a first episode of psychosis either with an , Tenth Revision, schizophrenia spectrum diagnosis or meeting the entry criteria for early intervention in psychosis who had not received antipsychotic medication or psychological intervention within the last 3 months.

Interventions: Psychological intervention involved up to 26 hours of cognitive-behavioural therapy and six family intervention sessions over 6 months, with up to four booster sessions. Antipsychotic medication was prescribed by the participant's psychiatrist in line with usual practice. Combined treatment was a combination of psychological intervention and antipsychotic medication.

Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome was feasibility (recruitment, treatment adherence and retention). We used a three-stage progression criterion to determine feasibility. Secondary outcomes were psychosis symptoms, recovery, anxiety and depression, social and educational/occupational functioning, drug and alcohol use, health economics, adverse/metabolic side effects and adverse/serious adverse events.

Results: We recruited 61 out of 90 (67.8%; amber zone) potential participants (psychological intervention,  = 18; antipsychotic medication,  = 22; combined treatment,  = 21). Retention to follow-up was 51 out of 61 participants (83.6%; green zone). In the psychological intervention arm and the combined treatment arm, 32 out of 39 (82.1%) participants received six or more sessions of cognitive-behavioural therapy (green zone). In the combined treatment arm and the antipsychotic medication arm, 28 out of 43 (65.1%) participants received antipsychotic medication for 6 consecutive weeks (amber zone). There were no serious adverse events related to the trial and one related adverse event. Overall, the number of completed secondary outcome measures, including health economics, was small.

Limitations: Medication adherence was determined by clinician report, which can be biased. The response to secondary outcomes was low, including health economics. The small sample size obtained means that the study lacked statistical power and there will be considerable uncertainty regarding estimates of treatment effects.

Conclusions: It is feasible to conduct a trial comparing psychological intervention with antipsychotic medication and a combination treatment in young people with psychosis with some adaptations to the design, including adaptations to collection of health economic data to determine cost-effectiveness.

Future Work: An adequately powered definitive trial is required to provide robust evidence.

Trial Registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN80567433.

Funding: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in ; Vol. 25, No. 4. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.
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January 2021

Open urethroplasty versus endoscopic urethrotomy for recurrent urethral stricture in men: the OPEN RCT.

Health Technol Assess 2020 11;24(61):1-110

St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.

Background: Men who suffer recurrence of bulbar urethral stricture have to decide between endoscopic urethrotomy and open urethroplasty to manage their urinary symptoms. Evidence of relative clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness is lacking.

Objectives: To assess benefit, harms and cost-effectiveness of open urethroplasty compared with endoscopic urethrotomy as treatment for recurrent urethral stricture in men.

Design: Parallel-group, open-label, patient-randomised trial of allocated intervention with 6-monthly follow-ups over 24 months. Target sample size was 210 participants providing outcome data. Participants, clinicians and local research staff could not be blinded to allocation. Central trial staff were blinded when needed.

Setting: UK NHS with recruitment from 38 hospital sites.

Participants: A total of 222 men requiring operative treatment for recurrence of bulbar urethral stricture who had received at least one previous intervention for stricture.

Interventions: A centralised randomisation system using random blocks allocated participants 1 : 1 to open urethroplasty (experimental group) or endoscopic urethrotomy (control group).

Main Outcome Measures: The primary clinical outcome was control of urinary symptoms. Cost-effectiveness was assessed by cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained over 24 months. The main secondary outcome was the need for reintervention for stricture recurrence.

Results: The mean difference in the area under the curve of repeated measurement of voiding symptoms scored from 0 (no symptoms) to 24 (severe symptoms) between the two groups was -0.36 [95% confidence interval (CI) -1.78 to 1.02;  = 0.6]. Mean voiding symptom scores improved between baseline and 24 months after randomisation from 13.4 [standard deviation (SD) 4.5] to 6 (SD 5.5) for urethroplasty group and from 13.2 (SD 4.7) to 6.4 (SD 5.3) for urethrotomy. Reintervention was less frequent and occurred earlier in the urethroplasty group (hazard ratio 0.52, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.89;  = 0.02). There were two postoperative complications requiring reinterventions in the group that received urethroplasty and five, including one death from pulmonary embolism, in the group that received urethrotomy. Over 24 months, urethroplasty cost on average more than urethrotomy (cost difference £2148, 95% CI £689 to £3606) and resulted in a similar number of QALYs (QALY difference -0.01, 95% CI -0.17 to 0.14). Therefore, based on current evidence, urethrotomy is considered to be cost-effective.

Limitations: We were able to include only 69 (63%) of the 109 men allocated to urethroplasty and 90 (80%) of the 113 men allocated to urethrotomy in the primary complete-case intention-to-treat analysis.

Conclusions: The similar magnitude of symptom improvement seen for the two procedures over 24 months of follow-up shows that both provide effective symptom control. The lower likelihood of further intervention favours urethroplasty, but this had a higher cost over the 24 months of follow-up and was unlikely to be considered cost-effective.

Future Work: Formulate methods to incorporate short-term disutility data into cost-effectiveness analysis. Survey pathways of care for men with urethral stricture, including the use of enhanced recovery after urethroplasty. Establish a pragmatic follow-up schedule to allow national audit of outcomes following urethral surgery with linkage to NHS Hospital Episode Statistics.

Trial Registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN98009168.

Funding: This project was funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in ; Vol. 24, No. 61. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.
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November 2020

Antipsychotic medication versus psychological intervention versus a combination of both in adolescents with first-episode psychosis (MAPS): a multicentre, three-arm, randomised controlled pilot and feasibility study.

Lancet Psychiatry 2020 09 7;7(9):788-800. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Department of Psychiatry, Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK; Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK.

Background: Evidence for the effectiveness of treatments in early-onset psychosis is sparse. Current guidance for the treatment of early-onset psychosis is mostly extrapolated from trials in adult populations. The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has recommended evaluation of the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs versus psychological intervention (cognitive behavioural therapy [CBT] and family intervention) versus the combination of these treatments for early-onset psychosis. The aim of this study was to establish the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial of antipsychotic monotherapy, psychological intervention monotherapy, and antipsychotics plus psychological intervention in adolescents with first-episode psychosis.

Methods: We did a multicentre pilot and feasibility trial according to a randomised, single-blind, three-arm, controlled design. We recruited participants from seven UK National Health Service Trust sites. Participants were aged 14-18 years; help-seeking; had presented with first-episode psychosis in the past year; were under the care of a psychiatrist; were showing current psychotic symptoms; and met ICD-10 criteria for schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or delusional disorder, or met the entry criteria for an early intervention for psychosis service. Participants were assigned (1:1:1) to antipsychotics, psychological intervention (CBT with optional family intervention), or antipsychotics plus psychological intervention. Randomisation was via a web-based randomisation system, with permuted blocks of random size, stratified by centre and family contact. CBT incorporated up to 26 sessions over 6 months plus up to four booster sessions, and family intervention incorporated up to six sessions over 6 months. Choice and dose of antipsychotic were at the discretion of the treating consultant psychiatrist. Participants were followed up for a maximum of 12 months. The primary outcome was feasibility (ie, data on trial referral and recruitment, session attendance or medication adherence, retention, and treatment acceptability) and the proposed primary efficacy outcome was total score on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) at 6 months. Primary outcomes were analysed by intention to treat. Safety outcomes were reported according to as-treated status, for all patients who had received at least one session of CBT or family intervention, or at least one dose of antipsychotics. The study was prospectively registered with ISRCTN, ISRCTN80567433.

Findings: Of 101 patients referred to the study, 61 patients (mean age 16·3 years [SD 1·3]) were recruited from April 10, 2017, to Oct 31, 2018, 18 of whom were randomly assigned to psychological intervention, 22 to antipsychotics, and 21 to antipsychotics plus psychological intervention. The trial recruitment rate was 68% of our target sample size of 90 participants. The study had a low referral to recruitment ratio (around 2:1), a high rate of retention (51 [84%] participants retained at the 6-month primary endpoint), a high rate of adherence to psychological intervention (defined as six or more sessions of CBT; in 32 [82%] of 39 participants in the monotherapy and combined groups), and a moderate rate of adherence to antipsychotic medication (defined as at least 6 consecutive weeks of exposure to antipsychotics; in 28 [65%] of 43 participants in the monotherapy and combined groups). Mean scores for PANSS total at the 6-month primary endpoint were 68·6 (SD 17·3) for antipsychotic monotherapy (6·2 points lower than at randomisation), 59·8 (13·7) for psychological intervention (13·1 points lower than at randomisation), and 62·0 (15·9) for antipsychotics plus psychological intervention (13·9 points lower than at randomisation). A good clinical response at 6 months (defined as ≥50% improvement in PANSS total score) was achieved in four (22%) of 18 patients receiving antipsychotic monotherapy, five (31%) of 16 receiving psychological intervention, and five (29%) of 17 receiving antipsychotics plus psychological intervention. In as-treated groups, serious adverse events occurred in eight [35%] of 23 patients in the combined group, two [13%] of 15 in the antipsychotics group, four [24%] of 17 in the psychological intervention group, and four [80%] of five who did not receive any treatment. No serious adverse events were considered to be related to participation in the trial.

Interpretation: This trial is the first to show that a head-to-head clinical trial comparing psychological intervention, antipsychotics, and their combination is safe in young people with first-episode psychosis. However, the feasibility of a larger trial is unclear because of site-specific recruitment challenges, and amendments to trial design would be needed for an adequately powered clinical and cost-effectiveness trial that provides robust evidence.

Funding: National Institute for Health Research.
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September 2020

Surgical Treatment for Recurrent Bulbar Urethral Stricture: A Randomised Open-label Superiority Trial of Open Urethroplasty Versus Endoscopic Urethrotomy (the OPEN Trial).

Eur Urol 2020 10 4;78(4):572-580. Epub 2020 Jul 4.

Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Background: Urethral stricture affects 0.9% of men. Initial treatment is urethrotomy. Approximately, half of the strictures recur within 4 yr. Options for further treatment are repeat urethrotomy or open urethroplasty.

Objective: To compare the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of urethrotomy with open urethroplasty in adult men with recurrent bulbar urethral stricture.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This was an open label, two-arm, patient-randomised controlled trial. UK National Health Service hospitals were recruited and 222 men were randomised to receive urethroplasty or urethrotomy.

Intervention: Urethrotomy is a minimally invasive technique whereby the narrowed area is progressively widened by cutting the scar tissue with a steel blade mounted on a urethroscope. Urethroplasty is a more invasive surgery to reconstruct the narrowed area.

Outcome Measurements And Statistical Analysis: The primary outcome was the profile over 24 mo of a patient-reported outcome measure, the voiding symptom score. The main clinical outcome was time until reintervention.

Results And Limitations: The primary analysis included 69 (63%) and 90 (81%) of those allocated to urethroplasty and urethrotomy, respectively. The mean difference between the urethroplasty and urethrotomy groups was -0.36 (95% confidence interval [CI] -1.74 to 1.02). Fifteen men allocated to urethroplasty needed a reintervention compared with 29 allocated to urethrotomy (hazard ratio [95% CI] 0.52 [0.31-0.89]).

Conclusions: In men with recurrent bulbar urethral stricture, both urethroplasty and urethrotomy improved voiding symptoms. The benefit lasted longer for urethroplasty.

Patient Summary: There was uncertainty about the best treatment for men with recurrent bulbar urethral stricture. We randomised men to receive one of the following two treatment options: urethrotomy and urethroplasty. At the end of the study, both treatments resulted in similar and better symptom scores. However, the urethroplasty group had fewer reinterventions.
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October 2020

Economic evaluation of surgical treatments for women with stress urinary incontinence: a cost-utility and value of information analysis.

BMJ Open 2020 06 11;10(6):e035555. Epub 2020 Jun 11.

Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Objectives: Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and stress-predominant mixed urinary incontinence (MUI) are common conditions that can have a negative impact on the quality of life of patients and serious cost implications for healthcare providers. The objective of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of nine different surgical interventions for treatment of SUI and stress-predominant MUI from a National Health Service and personal social services perspective in the UK.

Methods: A Markov microsimulation model was developed to compare the costs and effectiveness of nine surgical interventions. The model was informed by undertaking a systematic review of clinical effectiveness and network meta-analysis. The main clinical parameters in the model were the cure and incidence rates of complications after different interventions. The outcomes from the model were expressed in terms of cost per quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained. In addition, expected value of perfect information (EVPI) analyses were conducted to quantify the main uncertainties facing decision-makers.

Results: The base-case results suggest that retropubic mid-urethral sling (retro-MUS) is the most cost-effective surgical intervention over a 10-year and lifetime time horizon. The probabilistic results show that retro-MUS and traditional sling are the interventions with the highest probability of being cost-effective across all willingness-to-pay thresholds over a lifetime time horizon. The value of information analysis results suggest that the largest value appears to be in removing uncertainty around the incidence rates of complications, the relative treatment effectiveness and health utility values.

Conclusions: Although retro-MUS appears, at this stage, to be a cost-effective intervention, research is needed on possible long-term complications of all surgical treatments to provide reassurance of safety, or earlier warning of unanticipated adverse effects. The value of information analysis supports the need, as a first step, for further research to improve our knowledge of the actual incidence of complications.
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June 2020

The clinical and cost effectiveness of surgical interventions for stones in the lower pole of the kidney: the percutaneous nephrolithotomy, flexible ureterorenoscopy and extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy for lower pole kidney stones randomised controlled trial (PUrE RCT) protocol.

Trials 2020 Jun 4;21(1):479. Epub 2020 Jun 4.

Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, Hills Road, Cambridge, UK.

Introduction: Renal stones are common, with a lifetime prevalence of 10% in adults. Global incidence is increasing due to increases in obesity and diabetes, with these patient populations being more likely to suffer renal stone disease. Flank pain from stones (renal colic) is the most common cause of emergency admission to UK urology departments. Stones most commonly develop in the lower pole of the kidney (in ~35% of cases) and here are least likely to pass without intervention. Currently there are three technologies available within the UK National Health Service to remove lower pole kidney stones: extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL), percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) and flexible ureterorenoscopy (FURS) with laser lithotripsy. Current evidence indicates there is uncertainty regarding the management of lower pole stones, and each treatment has advantages and disadvantages. The aim of this trial is to determine the clinical and cost effectiveness of FURS compared with ESWL or PCNL in the treatment of lower pole kidney stones.

Methods: The PUrE (PCNL, FURS and ESWL for lower pole kidney stones) trial is a multi-centre, randomised controlled trial (RCT) evaluating FURS versus ESWL or PCNL for lower pole kidney stones. Patients aged ≥16 years with a stone(s) in the lower pole of either kidney confirmed by non-contrast computed tomography of the kidney, ureter and bladder (CTKUB) and requiring treatment for a stone ≤10 mm will be randomised to receive FURS or ESWL (RCT1), and those requiring treatment for a stone >10 mm to ≤25 mm will be randomised to receive FURS or PCNL (RCT2). Participants will undergo follow-up by questionnaires every week up to 12 weeks post-intervention and at 12 months post-randomisation. The primary clinical outcome is health status measured by the area under the curve calculated from multiple measurements of the EuroQol five dimensions five-level version (EQ-5D-5L) questionnaire up to 12 weeks post-intervention. The primary economic outcome is the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year gained at 12 months post-randomisation.

Discussion: The PUrE trial aims to provide robust evidence on health status, quality of life, clinical outcomes and resource use to directly inform choice and National Health Service provision of the three treatment options.

Trial Registration: ISRCTN: ISRCTN98970319. Registered on 11 November 2015.
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June 2020

Total versus partial knee replacement in patients with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis: the TOPKAT RCT.

Health Technol Assess 2020 04;24(20):1-98

Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.

Background: Late-stage medial compartment knee osteoarthritis can be treated using total knee replacement or partial (unicompartmental) knee replacement. There is high variation in treatment choice and insufficient evidence to guide selection.

Objective: To assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of partial knee replacement compared with total knee replacement in patients with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis. The findings are intended to guide surgical decision-making for patients, surgeons and health-care providers.

Design: This was a randomised, multicentre, pragmatic comparative effectiveness trial that included an expertise component. The target sample size was 500 patients. A web-based randomisation system was used to allocate treatments.

Setting: Twenty-seven NHS hospitals (68 surgeons).

Participants: Patients with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis.

Interventions: The trial compared the overall management strategy of partial knee replacement treatment with total knee replacement treatment. No specified brand or subtype of implant was investigated.

Main Outcome Measures: The Oxford Knee Score at 5 years was the primary end point. Secondary outcomes included activity scores, global health measures, transition items, patient satisfaction (Lund Score) and complications (including reoperation, revision and composite 'failure' - defined by minimal Oxford Knee Score improvement and/or reoperation). Cost-effectiveness was also assessed.

Results: A total of 528 patients were randomised (partial knee replacement,  = 264; total knee replacement,  = 264). The follow-up primary outcome response rate at 5 years was 88% and both operations had good outcomes. There was no significant difference between groups in mean Oxford Knee Score at 5 years (difference 1.04, 95% confidence interval -0.42 to 2.50). An area under the curve analysis of the Oxford Knee Score at 5 years showed benefit in favour of partial knee replacement over total knee replacement, but the difference was within the minimal clinically important difference [mean 36.6 (standard deviation 8.3) ( = 233), mean 35.1 (standard deviation 9.1) ( = 231), respectively]. Secondary outcome measures showed consistent patterns of benefit in the direction of partial knee replacement compared with total knee replacement although most differences were small and non-significant. Patient-reported improvement (transition) and reflection (would you have the operation again?) showed statistically significant superiority for partial knee replacement only, but both of these variables could be influenced by the lack of blinding. The frequency of reoperation (including revision) by treatment received was similar for both groups: 22 out of 245 for partial knee replacement and 28 out of 269 for total knee replacement patients. Revision rates at 5 years were 10 out of 245 for partial knee replacement and 8 out of 269 for total knee replacement. There were 28 'failures' of partial knee replacement and 38 'failures' of total knee replacement (as defined by composite outcome). Beyond 1 year, partial knee replacement was cost-effective compared with total knee replacement, being associated with greater health benefits (measured using quality-adjusted life-years) and lower health-care costs, reflecting lower costs of the index surgery and subsequent health-care use.

Limitations: It was not possible to blind patients in this study and there was some non-compliance with the allocated treatment interventions. Surgeons providing partial knee replacement were relatively experienced with the procedure.

Conclusions: Both total knee replacement and partial knee replacement are effective, offer similar clinical outcomes and have similar reoperation and complication rates. Some patient-reported measures of treatment approval were significantly higher for partial knee replacement than for total knee replacement. Partial knee replacement was more cost-effective (more effective and cost saving) than total knee replacement at 5 years.

Future Work: Further (10-year) follow-up is in progress to assess the longer-term stability of these findings.

Trial Registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN03013488 and NCT01352247.

Funding: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in ; Vol. 24, No. 20. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.
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April 2020

IDENTIFY: The investigation and detection of urological neoplasia in patients referred with suspected urinary tract cancer: A multicentre cohort study.

Int J Surg Protoc 2020 28;21:8-12. Epub 2020 Feb 28.

Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London.

•IDENTIFY study: The largest prospective cohort study of haematuria in secondary care.•Contemporary urinary cancer detection rates and diagnostic strategies.•The effectiveness of diagnostic tests, e.g. ultrasound, in detecting urinary cancer.•Novel patient risk factors associated with bladder and upper tract urinary cancers.
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February 2020

Surgical treatments for women with stress urinary incontinence: a systematic review of economic evidence.

Syst Rev 2020 04 20;9(1):85. Epub 2020 Apr 20.

Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University, Baddiley-Clark Building, Richardson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4AX, UK.

Background: Surgical interventions for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in women are commonly employed following the failure of minimally invasive therapies. Due to the limited information available on the relative cost-effectiveness of available surgeries for treating SUI, a de novo economic analysis was conducted to assess costs and effects of all relevant surgeries. To inform the economic analysis, the objective of this review was to identify and assess the quality of existing economic evaluation studies on different surgical interventions for the treatment of SUI in women.

Methods: The following databases were searched during the review process: Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE), MEDLINE In-Process, Excerpta Medica Database (Embase), National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED), and Health Management Information Consortium and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Registry (CEA registry). The key criteria for inclusion were that the study population included women with SUI and that the surgical interventions considered were utilised as either a primary or a follow-up surgery. The review included only full economic evaluations. Studies were quality assessed using the Drummond checklist for economic evaluations. No quantitative synthesis of the results by meta-analysis was conducted due to the high methodological heterogeneity.

Results: Twenty-six economic evaluations were included, of which 13 were model-based analyses. Surgical treatments assessed most frequently were mid-urethral slings and open and laparoscopic colposuspension. There were some differences in the methodological approaches taken, including differences in type of economic analysis, perspective, time horizon, types of resource use, and costs and outcomes that were included in the analysis. The majority of studies conducted a cost-utility analysis from a health system perspective and applied a time horizon of between 1 and 5 years. The cost-effectiveness results suggest that single-incision mini-sling and mid-urethral slings are among the most cost-effective options.

Conclusions: The review has shown that methods used for the economic evaluation of surgical treatments for SUI vary widely in terms of study design, analysis type, compared alternatives, time horizon, costing methodologies and effect outcomes. Future economic evaluation studies on surgical treatments for SUI may be improved by the application of available guidelines.

Systematic Review Registration: Registered in PROSPERO in 2016, CRD42016049339.
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April 2020

Baseline Characteristics of Participants in the Treatment of Advanced Glaucoma Study: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial.

Am J Ophthalmol 2020 05 13;213:186-194. Epub 2020 Mar 13.

Health Services Research Unit, Centre for Healthcare Randomized Trials, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.

Purpose: To report the baseline characteristics of participants enrolled in TAGS (Treatment of Advanced Glaucoma Study).

Design: Pragmatic randomized control trial (RCT).

Methods: Participants with newly diagnosed advanced glaucoma in at least 1 eye were recruited. Participants were patients with open angle glaucoma presenting with advanced glaucoma in at least 1 eye as defined by the Hodapp-Parrish-Anderson (HPA) criteria for severe defect. Participants were randomly allocated to receive either primary augmented trabeculectomy or primary medical management. When both eyes were eligible, the same intervention was undertaken in both eyes, and the index eye for analysis was the eye with the less severe visual field mean defect (MD). Main outcome measurements were visual field profile, defined by the HPA classification; clinical characteristics; quality of life, as measured by the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire 25 (VFQ-25), the EuroQual-5 Dimension (EQ-5D 5L), Health Utility Index-3 (HUI-3), and the Glaucoma Profile Instrument (GPI).

Results: A total of 453 patients were recruited. The mean visual field MD was -15.0 dB ± 6.3 in the index eye and -6.2 dB in the non-index eye. Of index eyes (HPA "severe" classification) at baseline, more than 70% of participants had a MD <-12.00 dB, and nearly 90% had more than 20 points defective at the 1% level. The mean LogMAR visual acuity of the index eye was 0.2 ± 0.3.

Conclusions: TAGS is the first RCT to compare medical versus surgical treatments for patients presenting with advanced open angle glaucoma in a publicly funded health service. The study will provide clinical, health-related quality of life, and economic outcomes to inform future treatment choices for those presenting with advanced glaucoma.
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May 2020

Early Signs Monitoring to Prevent Relapse in Psychosis and Promote Well-Being, Engagement, and Recovery: Protocol for a Feasibility Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial Harnessing Mobile Phone Technology Blended With Peer Support.

JMIR Res Protoc 2020 Jan 9;9(1):e15058. Epub 2020 Jan 9.

Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Background: Relapse in schizophrenia is a major cause of distress and disability and is predicted by changes in symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and suspiciousness (early warning signs [EWSs]). These can be used as the basis for timely interventions to prevent relapse. However, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the implementation of EWS interventions.

Objective: This study was designed to establish the feasibility of conducting a definitive cluster randomized controlled trial comparing Early signs Monitoring to Prevent relapse in psychosis and prOmote Well-being, Engagement, and Recovery (EMPOWER) against treatment as usual (TAU). Our primary outcomes are establishing parameters of feasibility, acceptability, usability, safety, and outcome signals of a digital health intervention as an adjunct to usual care that is deliverable in the UK National Health Service and Australian community mental health service (CMHS) settings. We will assess the feasibility of candidate primary outcomes, candidate secondary outcomes, and candidate mechanisms for a definitive trial.

Methods: We will randomize CMHSs to EMPOWER or TAU. We aim to recruit up to 120 service user participants from 8 CMHSs and follow them for 12 months. Eligible service users will (1) be aged 16 years and above, (2) be in contact with local CMHSs, (3) have either been admitted to a psychiatric inpatient service or received crisis intervention at least once in the previous 2 years for a relapse, and (4) have an International Classification of Diseases-10 diagnosis of a schizophrenia-related disorder. Service users will also be invited to nominate a carer to participate. We will identify the feasibility of the main trial in terms of recruitment and retention to the study and the acceptability, usability, safety, and outcome signals of the EMPOWER intervention. EMPOWER is a mobile phone app that enables the monitoring of well-being and possible EWSs of relapse on a daily basis. An algorithm calculates changes in well-being based on participants' own baseline to enable tailoring of well-being messaging and clinical triage of possible EWSs. Use of the app is blended with ongoing peer support.

Results: Recruitment to the trial began September 2018, and follow-up of participants was completed in July 2019. Data collection is continuing. The database was locked in July 2019, followed by analysis and disclosing of group allocation.

Conclusions: The knowledge gained from the study will inform the design of a definitive trial including finalizing the delivery of our digital health intervention, sample size estimation, methods to ensure successful identification, consent, randomization, and follow-up of participants, and the primary and secondary outcomes. The trial will also inform the final health economic model to be applied in the main trial.

Trial Registration: International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN): 99559262;

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/15058.
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January 2020

Practical help for specifying the target difference in sample size calculations for RCTs: the DELTA five-stage study, including a workshop.

Health Technol Assess 2019 10;23(60):1-88

Health Economics Group, Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Background: The randomised controlled trial is widely considered to be the gold standard study for comparing the effectiveness of health interventions. Central to its design is a calculation of the number of participants needed (the sample size) for the trial. The sample size is typically calculated by specifying the magnitude of the difference in the primary outcome between the intervention effects for the population of interest. This difference is called the 'target difference' and should be appropriate for the principal estimand of interest and determined by the primary aim of the study. The target difference between treatments should be considered realistic and/or important by one or more key stakeholder groups.

Objective: The objective of the report is to provide practical help on the choice of target difference used in the sample size calculation for a randomised controlled trial for researchers and funder representatives.

Methods: The Difference ELicitation in TriAls (DELTA) recommendations and advice were developed through a five-stage process, which included two literature reviews of existing funder guidance and recent methodological literature; a Delphi process to engage with a wider group of stakeholders; a 2-day workshop; and finalising the core document.

Results: Advice is provided for definitive trials (Phase III/IV studies). Methods for choosing the target difference are reviewed. To aid those new to the topic, and to encourage better practice, 10 recommendations are made regarding choosing the target difference and undertaking a sample size calculation. Recommended reporting items for trial proposal, protocols and results papers under the conventional approach are also provided. Case studies reflecting different trial designs and covering different conditions are provided. Alternative trial designs and methods for choosing the sample size are also briefly considered.

Conclusions: Choosing an appropriate sample size is crucial if a study is to inform clinical practice. The number of patients recruited into the trial needs to be sufficient to answer the objectives; however, the number should not be higher than necessary to avoid unnecessary burden on patients and wasting precious resources. The choice of the target difference is a key part of this process under the conventional approach to sample size calculations. This document provides advice and recommendations to improve practice and reporting regarding this aspect of trial design. Future work could extend the work to address other less common approaches to the sample size calculations, particularly in terms of appropriate reporting items.

Funding: Funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) UK and the National Institute for Health Research as part of the MRC-National Institute for Health Research Methodology Research programme.
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October 2019

Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy versus endometrial ablation for women with heavy menstrual bleeding (HEALTH): a parallel-group, open-label, randomised controlled trial.

Lancet 2019 10 12;394(10207):1425-1436. Epub 2019 Sep 12.

Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.

Background: Heavy menstrual bleeding affects 25% of women in the UK, many of whom require surgery to treat it. Hysterectomy is effective but has more complications than endometrial ablation, which is less invasive but ultimately leads to hysterectomy in 20% of women. We compared laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy with endometrial ablation in women seeking surgical treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding.

Methods: In this parallel-group, multicentre, open-label, randomised controlled trial in 31 hospitals in the UK, women younger than 50 years who were referred to a gynaecologist for surgical treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding and who were eligible for endometrial ablation were randomly allocated (1:1) to either laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy or second generation endometrial ablation. Women were randomly assigned by either an interactive voice response telephone system or an internet-based application with a minimisation algorithm based on centre and age group (<40 years vs ≥40 years). Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy involves laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery to remove the upper part of the uterus (the body) containing the endometrium. Endometrial ablation aims to treat heavy menstrual bleeding by destroying the endometrium, which is responsible for heavy periods. The co-primary clinical outcomes were patient satisfaction and condition-specific quality of life, measured with the menorrhagia multi-attribute quality of life scale (MMAS), assessed at 15 months after randomisation. Our analysis was based on the intention-to-treat principle. The trial was registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN49013893.

Findings: Between May 21, 2014, and March 28, 2017, we enrolled and randomly assigned 660 women (330 in each group). 616 (93%) of 660 women were operated on within the study period, 588 (95%) of whom received the allocated procedure and 28 (5%) of whom had an alternative surgery. At 15 months after randomisation, more women allocated to laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy were satisfied with their operation compared with those in the endometrial ablation group (270 [97%] of 278 women vs 244 [87%] of 280 women; adjusted percentage difference 9·8, 95% CI 5·1-14·5; adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2·53, 95% CI 1·83-3·48; p<0·0001). Women randomly assigned to laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy were also more likely to have the best possible MMAS score of 100 than women assigned to endometrial ablation (180 [69%] of 262 women vs 146 [54%] of 268 women; adjusted percentage difference 13·3, 95% CI 3·8-22·8; adjusted OR 1·87, 95% CI 1·31-2·67; p=0·00058). 14 (5%) of 309 women in the laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy group and 11 (4%) of 307 women in the endometrial ablation group had at least one serious adverse event (adjusted OR 1·30, 95% CI 0·56-3·02; p=0·54).

Interpretation: Laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy is superior to endometrial ablation in terms of clinical effectiveness and has a similar proportion of complications, but takes longer to perform and is associated with a longer recovery.

Funding: UK National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme.
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October 2019

Five-Year Outcomes of a Randomized Trial of Treatments for Varicose Veins.

N Engl J Med 2019 09;381(10):912-922

From the Institute of Cardiovascular Research, University of Glasgow (J.B.), and the Institute of Applied Health Research, Nursing, Midwifery, and Allied Health Professions Research Unit, Glasgow Caledonian University (A.E.), Glasgow, the Health Services Research Unit (D.C., S.C.C., G.M., C.R.R., M.K.C.) and the Health Economics Research Unit (M.D., G.S., E.T.), University of Aberdeen, and the Department of Vascular Surgery, NHS Grampian, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (P.B.), Aberdeen, the Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh (J.N.), the School of Medicine, Medical and Biological Sciences, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews (J.M.B.), the Department of Vascular Surgery, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter (B.C.), the Department of Vascular Surgery, Hull Royal Infirmary, Hull (I.C.), the School of Surgery, University of Leeds (M.G.), and Vascular Surgery, St. James University Hospital (J.S.), Leeds, Vascular Surgery, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Gloucester (J.E.), Vascular Surgery, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne (T.L.), the Vascular Surgical Unit, Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Bournemouth (S.A.B.), and the School of Health Sciences, City University of London, London (J.F.) - all in the United Kingdom.

Background: Endovenous laser ablation and ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy are recommended alternatives to surgery for the treatment of primary varicose veins, but their long-term comparative effectiveness remains uncertain.

Methods: In a randomized, controlled trial involving 798 participants with primary varicose veins at 11 centers in the United Kingdom, we compared the outcomes of laser ablation, foam sclerotherapy, and surgery. Primary outcomes at 5 years were disease-specific quality of life and generic quality of life, as well as cost-effectiveness based on models of expected costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained that used data on participants' treatment costs and scores on the EuroQol EQ-5D questionnaire.

Results: Quality-of-life questionnaires were completed by 595 (75%) of the 798 trial participants. After adjustment for baseline scores and other covariates, scores on the Aberdeen Varicose Vein Questionnaire (on which scores range from 0 to 100, with lower scores indicating a better quality of life) were lower among patients who underwent laser ablation or surgery than among those who underwent foam sclerotherapy (effect size [adjusted differences between groups] for laser ablation vs. foam sclerotherapy, -2.86; 95% confidence interval [CI], -4.49 to -1.22; P<0.001; and for surgery vs. foam sclerotherapy, -2.60; 95% CI, -3.99 to -1.22; P<0.001). Generic quality-of-life measures did not differ among treatment groups. At a threshold willingness-to-pay ratio of £20,000 ($28,433 in U.S. dollars) per QALY, 77.2% of the cost-effectiveness model iterations favored laser ablation. In a two-way comparison between foam sclerotherapy and surgery, 54.5% of the model iterations favored surgery.

Conclusions: In a randomized trial of treatments for varicose veins, disease-specific quality of life 5 years after treatment was better after laser ablation or surgery than after foam sclerotherapy. The majority of the probabilistic cost-effectiveness model iterations favored laser ablation at a willingness-to-pay ratio of £20,000 ($28,433) per QALY. (Funded by the National Institute for Health Research; CLASS Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN51995477.).
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September 2019

Photodynamic versus white light-guided treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer: a study protocol for a randomised trial of clinical and cost-effectiveness.

BMJ Open 2019 09 3;9(9):e022268. Epub 2019 Sep 3.

Urology, Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Introduction: Bladder cancer is the most frequently occurring tumour of the urinary system. Ta, T1 tumours and carcinoma in situ (CIS) are grouped as non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC), which can be effectively treated by transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT). There are limitations to the visualisation of tumours with conventional TURBT using white light illumination within the bladder. Incomplete resections occur from the failure to identify satellite lesions or the full extent of the tumour leading to recurrence and potential risk of disease progression. To improve complete resection, photodynamic diagnosis (PDD) has been proposed as a method that can enhance tumour detection and guide resection. The objective of the current research is to determine whether PDD-guided TURBT is better than conventional white light surgery and whether it is cost-effective.

Methods And Analysis: PHOTO is a pragmatic multicentre randomised controlled trial (open parallel group, non-masked and superiority trial) comparing the intervention of PDD-guided TURBT with standard white light resection in newly diagnosed intermediate and high risk NMIBC within the UK National Health Service setting. Clinical effectiveness is measured with time to recurrence. Cost-effectiveness is assessed within trial via the calculation of incremental cost per recurrence avoided and incremental cost per quality-adjusted life per year gained over 3 years and over long term through a modelling exercise over patients' lifetime.

Ethics And Dissemination: Formal ethics review was undertaken with a favourable opinion, in line with UK regulatory procedures (REC reference number: 14/NE/1062). If reductions in time to recurrence is associated with long-term patient benefits, the cost-effectiveness evaluation will provide further evidence to inform adoption of the technology. Findings will be shared in lay media such as patient and charity forums and will be presented at key meetings and published in academic literature.Trial registration number ISRCTN84013636.
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September 2019

The clinical and cost-effectiveness of total versus partial knee replacement in patients with medial compartment osteoarthritis (TOPKAT): 5-year outcomes of a randomised controlled trial.

Lancet 2019 08 17;394(10200):746-756. Epub 2019 Jul 17.

Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.

Background: Late-stage isolated medial knee osteoarthritis can be treated with total knee replacement (TKR) or partial knee replacement (PKR). There is high variation in treatment choice and little robust evidence to guide selection. The Total or Partial Knee Arthroplasty Trial (TOPKAT) therefore aims to assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of TKR versus PKR in patients with medial compartment osteoarthritis of the knee, and this represents an analysis of the main endpoints at 5 years.

Methods: Our multicentre, pragmatic randomised controlled trial was done at 27 UK sites. We used a combined expertise-based and equipoise-based approach, in which patients with isolated osteoarthritis of the medial compartment of the knee and who satisfied general requirements for a medial PKR were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive PKR or TKR by surgeons who were either expert in and willing to perform both surgeries or by a surgeon with particular expertise in the allocated procedure. The primary endpoint was the Oxford Knee Score (OKS) 5 years after randomisation in all patients assigned to groups. Health-care costs (in UK 2017 prices) and cost-effectiveness were also assessed. This trial is registered with ISRCTN (ISRCTN03013488) and (NCT01352247).

Findings: Between Jan 18, 2010, and Sept 30, 2013, we assessed 962 patients for their eligibility, of whom 431 (45%) patients were excluded (121 [13%] patients did not meet the inclusion criteria and 310 [32%] patients declined to participate) and 528 (55%) patients were randomly assigned to groups. 94% of participants responded to the follow-up survey 5 years after their operation. At the 5-year follow-up, we found no difference in OKS between groups (mean difference 1·04, 95% CI -0·42 to 2·50; p=0·159). In our within-trial cost-effectiveness analysis, we found that PKR was more effective (0·240 additional quality-adjusted life-years, 95% CI 0·046 to 0·434) and less expensive (-£910, 95% CI -1503 to -317) than TKR during the 5 years of follow-up. This finding was a result of slightly better outcomes, lower costs of surgery, and lower follow-up health-care costs with PKR than TKR.

Interpretation: Both TKR and PKR are effective, offer similar clinical outcomes, and result in a similar incidence of re-operations and complications. Based on our clinical findings, and results regarding the lower costs and better cost-effectiveness with PKR during the 5-year study period, we suggest that PKR should be considered the first choice for patients with late-stage isolated medial compartment osteoarthritis.

Funding: National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme.
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August 2019

Effect of hands-on interprofessional simulation training for local emergencies in Scotland: the THISTLE stepped-wedge design randomised controlled trial.

BMJ Qual Saf 2020 02 13;29(2):122-134. Epub 2019 Jul 13.

Translational Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Objective: To assess whether the implementation of an intrapartum training package (PROMPT (PRactical Obstetric Multi-Professional Training)) across a health service reduced the proportion of term babies born with Apgar score <7 at 5 min (<7).

Design: Stepped-wedge cluster randomised controlled trial.

Setting: Twelve randomised maternity units with ≥900 births/year in Scotland. Three additional units were included in a supplementary analysis to assess the effect across Scotland. The intervention commenced in March 2014 with follow-up until September 2016.

Intervention: The PROMPT training package (Second edition), with subsequent unit-level implementation of PROMPT courses for all maternity staff.

Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome was the proportion of term babies with Apgar<7.

Results: 87 204 eligible births (99.2% with an Apgar score), of which 1291 infants had an Apgar<7 were delivered in the 12 randomised maternity units. Two units did not implement the intervention. The overall Apgar<7 rate observed in the 12 randomised units was 1.49%, increasing from 1.32% preintervention to 1.59% postintervention. Once adjusted for a secular time trend, the 'intention-to-treat' analysis indicated a moderate but non-significant reduction in the rate of term babies with an Apgar scores <7 following PROMPT training (OR=0.79 95%CI(0.63 to 1.01)). However, some units implemented the intervention earlier than their allocated step, whereas others delayed the intervention. The content and authenticity of the implemented intervention varied widely at unit level. When the actual date of implementation of the intervention in each unit was considered in the analysis, there was no evidence of improvement (OR=1.01 (0.84 to 1.22)). No intervention effect was detected by broadening the analysis to include all 15 large Scottish maternity units. Units with a history of higher rates of Apgar<7 maintained higher Apgar rates during the study (OR=2.09 (1.28 to 3.41)) compared with units with pre-study rates aligned to the national rate.

Conclusions: PROMPT training, as implemented, had no effect on the rate of Apgar <7 in Scotland during the study period. Local implementation at scale was found to be more difficult than anticipated. Further research is required to understand why the positive effects observed in other single-unit studies have not been replicated in Scottish maternity units, and how units can be best supported to locally implement the intervention authentically and effectively.

Trial Registration Number: ISRCTN11640515.
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February 2020

Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial of CBT vs antipsychotics vs both in 14-18-year-olds: Managing Adolescent first episode Psychosis: a feasibility study (MAPS).

Trials 2019 Jul 4;20(1):395. Epub 2019 Jul 4.

The Psychosis Research Unit, Department of Psychology, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Prestwich, M25 3BL, UK.

Background: Adolescent-onset psychosis is associated with more severe symptoms and poorer outcomes than adult-onset psychosis. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend that adolescents with first episode psychosis (FEP) should be offered a combination of antipsychotic medication (APs), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and family intervention (FI). The evidence for APs in treating psychosis is limited in adolescents compared to adults. Nevertheless, it indicates that APs can reduce overall symptoms in adolescents but may cause more severe side effects, including cardiovascular and metabolic effects, than in adults. CBT and FI can improve outcomes in adults, but there are no studies of psychological interventions (PI) in patients under 18 years old. Given this limited evidence base, NICE made a specific research recommendation for determining the clinical and cost effectiveness of APs versus PI versus both treatments for adolescent FEP.

Methods/design: The current study aimed to establish the feasibility and acceptability of conducting such a trial by recruiting 14-18-year-olds with a first episode of psychosis into a feasibility prospective randomised open blinded evaluation (PROBE) design, three-arm, randomised controlled trial of APs alone versus PI alone versus a combination of both treatments. We aimed to recruit 90 participants from Early Intervention and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Teams in seven UK sites. APs were prescribed by participants' usual psychiatrists. PI comprised standardised cognitive behavioural therapy and family intervention sessions.

Discussion: This is the first study to compare APs to PI in an adolescent population with FEP. Recruitment finished on 31 October 2018. The study faced difficulties with recruitment across most sites due to factors including clinician and service-user treatment preferences.

Trial Registration: Current controlled trial with ISRCTN, ISRCTN80567433 . Registered on 27 February 2017.
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July 2019

Surgical interventions for women with stress urinary incontinence: systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.

BMJ 2019 Jun 5;365:l1842. Epub 2019 Jun 5.

Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.

Objectives: To compare the effectiveness and safety of surgical interventions for women with stress urinary incontinence.

Design: Systematic review and network meta-analysis.

Eligibility Criteria For Selecting Studies: Randomised controlled trials evaluating surgical interventions for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence in women.

Methods: Identification of relevant randomised controlled trials from Cochrane reviews and the Cochrane Incontinence Specialised Register (searched May 2017), which contains trials identified from the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Medline, Medline In-Process, Medline Epub Ahead of Print, CINAHL,, and WHO ICTRP. The reference lists of relevant articles were also searched. Primary outcomes were "cure" and "improvement" at 12 months, analysed by means of network meta-analyses, with results presented as the surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA). Adverse events were analysed using pairwise meta-analyses. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. The quality of evidence for network meta-analysis was assessed using the GRADE approach.

Results: 175 randomised controlled trials assessing a total of 21 598 women were included. Most studies had high or unclear risk across all risk of bias domains. Network meta-analyses were based on data from 105 trials that reported cure and 120 trials that reported improvement of incontinence symptoms. Results showed that the interventions with highest cure rates were traditional sling, retropubic midurethral sling (MUS), open colposuspension, and transobturator MUS, with rankings of 89.4%, 89.1%, 76.7%, and 64.1%, respectively. Compared with retropubic MUS, the odds ratio of cure for traditional sling was 1.06 (95% credible interval 0.62 to 1.85), for open colposuspension was 0.85 (0.54 to 1.33), and for transobtrurator MUS was 0.74 (0.59 to 0.92). Women were also more likely to experience an improvement in their incontinence symptoms after receiving retropubic MUS or transobturator MUS compared with other surgical procedures. In particular, compared with retropubic MUS, the odds ratio of improvement for transobturator MUS was 0.76 (95% credible interval 0.59 to 0.98), for traditional sling was 0.69 (0.39 to 1.26), and for open colposuspension was 0.65 (0.41 to 1.02). Quality of evidence was moderate for retropubic MUS versus transobturator MUS and low or very low for retropubic MUS versus the other two interventions. Data on adverse events were available mainly for mesh procedures, indicating a higher rate of repeat surgery and groin pain but a lower rate of suprapubic pain, vascular complications, bladder or urethral perforation, and voiding difficulties after transobturator MUS compared with retropubic MUS. Data on adverse events for non-MUS procedures were sparse and showed wide confidence intervals. Long term data were limited.

Conclusions: Retropubic MUS, transobturator MUS, traditional sling, and open colposuspension are more effective than other procedures for stress urinary incontinence in the short to medium term. Data on long term effectiveness and adverse events are, however, limited, especially around the comparative adverse events profiles of MUS and non-MUS procedures. A better understanding of complications after surgery for stress urinary incontinence is imperative.

Systematic Review Registration: PROSPERO CRD42016049339.
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June 2019