The appropriateness of using routinely collected laboratory data combined with administrative data for estimating influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) is still being explored. This paper outlines a protocol to estimate influenza VE using linked laboratory and administrative data which could act as a companion to estimates derived from other methods.
We will use the test-negative design to estimate VE for each influenza type/subtype and season. Province-wide individual-level records of positive and negative influenza tests at the Provincial Laboratory for Public Health in Alberta will be linked, by unique personal health numbers, to administrative databases and vaccination records held at the Ministry of Health in Alberta to determine covariates and influenza vaccination status, respectively. Covariates of interests include age, sex, immunocompromising chronic conditions and healthcare setting. Cases will be defined based on an individual’s first positive influenza test during the season, and potential controls will be defined based on an individual’s first negative influenza test during the season. One control for each case will be randomly selected based on the week the specimen was collected. We will estimate VE using multivariable logistic regression.
Ethics approval was obtained from the University of Alberta’s Health Research Ethics Board—Health Panel under study ID Pro00075997. Results will be disseminated by public health officials in Alberta.
Despite the publication of hundreds of trials on gout and hyperuricemia, management of these conditions remains suboptimal. We aimed to assess the quality and consistency of guidance documents for gout and hyperuricemia.
Systematic review and quality assessment using the appraisal of guidelines for research and evaluation (AGREE) II methodology.
PubMed and EMBASE (27 October 2016), two Chinese academic databases, eight guideline databases, and Google and Google scholar (July 2017).
We included the latest version of international and national/regional clinical practice guidelines and consensus statements for diagnosis and/or treatment of hyperuricemia and gout, published in English or Chinese.
Two reviewers independently screened searched items and extracted data. Four reviewers independently scored documents using AGREE II. Recommendations from all documents were tabulated and visualised in a coloured grid.
Twenty-four guidance documents (16 clinical practice guidelines and 8 consensus statements) published between 2003 and 2017 were included. Included documents performed well in the domains of scope and purpose (median 85.4%, range 66.7%–100.0%) and clarity of presentation (median 79.2%, range 48.6%–98.6%), but unsatisfactory in applicability (median 10.9%, range 0.0%–66.7%) and editorial independence (median 28.1%, range 0.0%–83.3%). The 2017 British Society of Rheumatology guideline received the highest scores. Recommendations were concordant on the target serum uric acid level for long-term control, on some indications for urate-lowering therapy (ULT), and on the first-line drugs for ULT and for acute attack. Substantially inconsistent recommendations were provided for many items, especially for the timing of initiation of ULT and for treatment for asymptomatic hyperuricemia.
Methodological quality needs improvement in guidance documents on gout and hyperuricemia. Evidence for certain clinical questions is lacking, despite numerous trials in this field. Promoting standard guidance development methods and synthesising high-quality clinical evidence are potential approaches to reduce recommendation inconsistencies.
Central nervous system (CNS) gliomas are the most common primary intra-axial brain tumours and pose variable treatment response according to their grade, therefore, precise staging is mandatory. Histopathological analysis of surgical tumour samples is still deemed as the state-of-the-art staging technique for gliomas due to the moderate specificity of the available non-invasive imaging modalities. A recently evolved analysis of the tissue water diffusion properties, known as diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI), is a dimensionless metric, which quantifies water molecules’ degree of non-Gaussian diffusion, hence reflects tissue microenvironment’s complexity by means of non-invasive diffusion-weighted MRI acquisitions. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to explore the performance of DKI in the presurgical grading of gliomas, both regarding the differentiation between high-grade and low-grade gliomas as well as the discrimination between gliomas and other intra-axial brain tumours.
We will search PubMed, Medline via Ovid, Embase and Scopus in July 2018 for research studies published between January 1990 and June 2018 with no language restrictions, which have reported on the performance of DKI in diagnosing CNS gliomas. Robust inclusion/exclusion criteria will be applied for selection of eligible articles. Two authors will separately perform quality assessment according to the quality assessment of diagnostic accuracy studies-2 tool. Data will be extracted in a predesigned spreadsheet. A meta-analysis will be held using a random-effects model if substantial statistical heterogeneity is expected. The heterogeneity of studies will be evaluated, and sensitivity analyses will be conducted according to individual study quality.
This work will be based on published studies; hence, it does not require institutional review board approval or ethics clearance. The results will be published in peer-reviewed journals.
Joint arthroplasty is a particularly complex orthopaedic surgical procedure performed on joints, including the hip, knee, shoulder, ankle, elbow, wrist and even digit joints. Increasing evidence from volume–outcomes research supports the finding that patients undergoing joint arthroplasty in high-volume hospitals or by high-volume surgeons achieve better outcomes, and minimum case load requirements have been established in some areas. However, the relationships between hospital/surgeon volume and outcomes in patients undergoing arthroplasty are not fully understood. Furthermore, whether elective arthroplasty should be restricted to high-volume hospitals or surgeons remains in dispute, and little is known regarding where the thresholds should be set for different types of joint arthroplasties.
This is a protocol for a suite of systematic reviews and dose–response meta-analyses, which will be amended and updated in conjunction with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols. Electronic databases, including PubMed and Embase, will be searched for observational studies examining the relationship between the hospital or surgeon volume and clinical outcomes in adult patients undergoing primary or revision of joint arthroplasty. We will use records management software for study selection and a predefined standardised file for data extraction and management. Quality will be assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale, and the meta-analysis, subgroup analysis and sensitivity analysis will be performed using Stata statistical software. Once the volume–outcome relationships are established, we will examine the potential non-linear relationships between hospital/surgeon volume and outcomes and detect whether thresholds or turning points exist.
Ethical approval is not required, because these studies are based on aggregated published data. The results of this suite of systematic reviews and meta-analyses will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals for publication.