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Acta Orthop. 2010 Feb;81(1):122-5. doi: 10.3109/17453671003587093.

Can orthopedic trials change practice?

Author information

  • 1Division of Orthopedic Surgery, Department of Surgery, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

The impact of large, randomized trials in orthopedic surgery on surgeons' preferences for a particular surgical approach remains unclear. We surveyed surgeons to assess whether they would change practice based upon results of a large, multicenter randomized controlled hip fracture trial.

METHODS:

We conducted a cross-sectional survey among International Hip Fracture Research Collaborative (IHFRC) surgeons and surgeons who were members of Arbeitsgemeinschaft fuer Osteosynthesefragen - Association for the Study of Internal Fixation (AO/ASIF) to determine the likelihood that they would change practice based on findings of a proposed large, multicenter randomized controlled trial (the Hip Fracture Evaluation with Alternatives of Total Hip Arthroplasty versus Hemi-Arthroplasty (HEALTH) study). We asked surgeons their current preferences for the management of displaced femoral neck fractures and whether a trial that definitively revealed a substantial improvement in function and quality of life with no difference in risk of revision surgery was important and would cause them to change practice.

RESULTS:

Of 883 surgeons surveyed, 210 responded from IHFRC and 586 from AO/ASIF (a response rate of 90%). Most surgeons (61%) preferred hemiarthroplasty (HA) for treating displaced femoral neck fractures. 72% of responding surgeons believed that a substantial improvement in patient function with total hip arthroplasty (THA) and no adverse effects on revision surgery would be an important finding. Moreover, of 483 surgeons who preferred hemiarthroplasty, 62% would change their practice based upon the findings of the trial.

INTERPRETATION:

Large clinical trials in orthopedics are worthwhile endeavors, as they have the potential to change practice among surgeons. Surgeons seem willing to adopt alternative surgical approaches if the evidence is compelling and sound.

PMID:
20146638
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2856216
Free PMC Article
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