[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Thyroid diseases affect quality of life (QoL). The Thyroid-Related Patient-Reported Outcome (ThyPRO) is an international comprehensive well-validated patient-reported outcome, measuring thyroid-related QoL. The current version is rather long-85 items. The purpose of the present study was to develop an abbreviated version of the ThyPRO, with conserved good measurement properties.
A cross-sectional (N = 907) and a longitudinal sample (N = 435) of thyroid patients were analyzed. A graded item response theory (IRT) model was fitted to the cross-sectional data. Short-form scales with three items were aimed for, by selecting items with best fit according to the IRT model, avoiding cross-culturally noninvariant items. Seven scales measuring mental and social well-being and function as well as one overall QoL impact item were analyzed in a bifactor model, to develop a supplementary composite score. Short-form scales were linked to original scales with IRT-based summed-score-linking. Agreement between the short and long form was estimated by agreement plots, intraclass correlations, and mean score levels. Responsiveness was compared by relative validity indices, clinical validity by ability to detect clinically relevant differences, and test-retest reliability by intra-class correlation.
One four-item scale was not abbreviated and one two-item scale was omitted from the short-form. For the 11 scales undergoing abbreviation, 10 with three and one with four items were developed. A bifactor model with good overall fit was fitted to the composite score, including the single QoL item. Responsiveness and clinical validity of the short-form scales were preserved, as were test-retest reliability (0.75-0.89). Short- versus long-form intraclass correlations were high (0.89-0.98), and the mean scale levels were similar.
A 39-item version of the ThyPRO, with good measurement properties, was developed and is recommended for clinical use.
Thyroid: official journal of the American Thyroid Association 07/2015; DOI:10.1089/thy.2015.0209 · 4.49 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Case-reports have made it evident that both inhaled, percutaneous, intranasal, intraarticular and ophthalmic administered glucocorticoids have the potential to cause life threatening adrenal insufficiency. With few and sometimes conflicting data and study methodology the prevalence of adrenal insufficiency secondary to locally applied glucocorticoids is not clear. Adrenal insufficiency can only be correctly evaluated by a stimulation test, and has by this procedure been reported in up to 40-50% of patients treated with high-dose inhaled glucocorticoids. Medium- to low-dose inhaled glucocorticoids have been shown to cause adrenal suppression in 0-16% of patients. Glucocorticoid creams and nasal glucocorticoids can cause adrenal insufficiency, also when used within prescribed doses, but the frequency seems to be less than with inhaled glucocorticoids. Intraarticularly administered glucocorticoids can cause adrenal suppression after a single injection. The systemic effect of locally applied glucocorticoids depends on pharmacokinetic and -dynamic properties of the particular glucocorticoid as well as individual factors. Many of the symptoms in iatrogen adrenal insufficiency are unspecific and often difficult to differentiate from symptoms of underlying disease activity. The condition might therefore be more common than widely believed and underdiagnosed in clinical practice. Potential adrenal insufficiency must therefore always be kept in mind in patients treated with all forms of glucocorticoids. Clinically important points and patient management are discussed on the basis of a case report and review of the literature. More work assessing the prevalence of adrenal insufficiency secondary to locally applied glucocorticoids is urgently needed.
Current Medicinal Chemistry 07/2015; 22(23). DOI:10.2174/0929867322666150716113003 · 3.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phthalates are a group of endocrine disrupting chemicals, suspected to influence the immune system. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of phthalates on cytokine secretion from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide and phytohemagglutinin-P were used for stimulation of monocytes/macrophages and T cells, respectively. Cells were exposed for 20 to 22 hours to either di-ethyl, di-n-butyl or mono-n-butyl phthalate at two different concentrations. Both diesters were metabolised to their respective monoester and influenced cytokine secretion from both monocytes/macrophages and T cells in a similar pattern: the secretion of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10 and the chemokine CXCL8 by monocytes/macrophages was enhanced, while tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α secretion by monocytes/macrophages was impaired, as was the secretion of IL-2 and IL-4, TNF-α and interferon-γ by T cells. The investigated phthalate monoester also influenced cytokine secretion from monocytes/macrophages similar to that of the diesters. In T cells, however, the effect of the monoester was different compared to the diesters. The influence of the phthalates on the cytokine secretion did not seem to be a result of cell death. Thus, results indicate that both human innate and adaptive immunity is influenced in vitro by phthalates, and that phthalates therefore may affect cell differentiation and regenerative and inflammatory processes in vivo.
PLoS ONE 06/2015; 10(6):e0131168. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0131168 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Phthalates are a group of endocrine disrupting chemicals suspected to influence the immune system. The aim of this systematic review is to summarise the present knowledge on the influence of phthalates on monocyte and macrophage production and secretion of cytokines, an influence which could affect both pro- and anti-inflammatory abilities of these cells.
Strategy and results:
A systematic search was performed in Medline, Embase and Toxline in June 2013, last updated 3rd of August 2014. Criteria used to select studies were described and published beforehand online on Prospero (http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/NIHR_PROSPERO, registration number CRD42013004236). In vivo, ex vivo and in vitro studies investigating the influence of phthalates on cytokine mRNA expression and cytokine secretion in animals and humans were included. A total of 11 reports, containing 12 studies, were found eligible for inclusion. In these, a total of four different phthalate diesters, six primary metabolites (phthalate monoesters) and seven different cytokines were investigated. Though all studies varied greatly in study design and species sources, four out of five studies that investigated di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate found an increased tumour necrosis factor-α secretion/production from monocytes or macrophages. A summary of cytokine measurements was not possible since few studies were comparable in study design and due to insufficient reporting of raw data for most of the included studies.
Results from this review have suggested that at least one phthalate (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate) has the ability to enhance tumour necrosis factor-α production/secretion from monocytes/macrophages in vitro, but also observed ex vivo. Influence of other phthalates on other cytokines has only been investigated in few studies. Thus, in vitro studies on primary human monocytes/macrophages as well as more in vivo studies are needed to confirm or dispute these findings.
PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):e0120083. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0120083 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context/Objective: Locally aggressive pituitary tumors (LAPT) and pituitary carcinomas respond poorly to conventional therapy and cytotoxic drugs. Temozolomide (TMZ) is an oral alkylating drug with good tolerability, approved for treatment of malignant gliomas. The experience of its use in pituitary tumors is limited. Design/Setting: We report on 24 patients with aggressive pituitary tumors (16 LAPTs, 8 carcinomas) treated with TMZ for a median of 6 months (range 1-23). Follow-up ranged from 4 to 91 months, median 32.5 months. 19/24 tumors were hormone secreting (PRL 9, ACTH 4, GH 4, GH/PRL 2). Ki-67 was 2-23% in LAPTs, and 5-90% in carcinomas. Main outcome: Response to TMZ and the association with tumor expression of O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), MLH1, MSH2, and MSH6, examined by immunohistochemistry. Results: Complete tumor regression occurred in 2 carcinomas and persisted at follow-up after 48 and 91 months, respectively. Partial regress of tumor mass ranging from 35-80% occurred in 5 LAPTs and 2 carcinomas. Another patient with LAPT had a 71% decrease in prolactin levels without change in tumor volume. Three LAPTs could not be evaluated. Median MGMT staining was 9% (5-20%) in responders vs 93% (50-100%) in non-responders. Loss of MSH2 and MSH 6 was observed in a single patient who had a rapid development of resistance to TMZ. Conclusions: This study shows that TMZ is a valuable treatment option for patients with uncontrolled pituitary tumors. The data suggest that tumoral MGMT staining below 50% is associated with a high likelihood of treatment response.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND. While health-related quality of life (HRQoL) issues often prompt treatment of benign non-toxic goiter (NTG), few clinical studies have systematically assessed HRQoL in patients with this condition. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate thyroid-related and generic HRQoL in patients with benign NTG, as compared to the general population, before and 6 months after treatment.
METHODS. Thyroid-related and generic HRQoL were assessed with ThyPRO and SF-36, respectively. Baseline and 6 month post-treatment HRQoL assessments were obtained from 111 patients with NTG who underwent radioiodine therapy (32%), hemithyroidectomy (53%), total thyroidectomy (12%), or cyst aspiration with ethanol sclerotherapy (4%). We enrolled euthyroid patients at baseline, 80% of whom remained euthyroid 6 months post-treatment with 20% experiencing subclinical thyroid dysfunction. Normative ThyPRO (n=739) and SF-36 (n=6,638) data were collected from representative general population samples. Score differences between patients and the general population were analysed with multivariate linear regression analysis, adjusting for age, gender, comorbidity and educational status. Changes in scores between baseline and follow-up were analysed with the paired t-test, and magnitudes of score changes were evaluated as effect-sizes (mean difference/SDbaseline; 0.2-0.5 indicating small, 0.5-0.8 moderate, and >0.8 large effects).
RESULTS. Patients’ baseline scores were significantly worse than those in the general population on nine of the 13 ThyPRO scales. Six months after treatment, the patients’ ThyPRO scores had improved on 6 scales, with large/moderate effects on the Goiter Symptoms and Anxiety scales. However, on eight scales, the post-treatment patient scores were still significantly worse than the general population scores. At baseline, patients had worse scores than the general population on four of the eight SF-36 scales and the SF-36 Mental Component Summary, none of which improved after treatment.
CONCLUSIONS. Compared with the general population, patients with NTG had greatest HRQoL impairment at baseline on the Goiter Symptoms and Anxiety scales, which also demonstrated the largest post-treatment improvements. However, both disease-specific and generic HRQoL deficits persisted 6 months after treatment. In order to improve individualized care, future studies should focus on identifying risk factors for persistent HRQoL deficits and compare HRQoL effects of the various goiter treatment modalities in relation to thyroid phenotype.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
We aimed to identify the best approach to work ability assessment in patients with thyroid disease by evaluating the factor structure, measurement equivalence, known-groups validity, and predictive validity of a broad set of work ability items.
Based on the literature and interviews with thyroid patients, 24 work ability items were selected from previous questionnaires, revised, or developed anew. Items were tested among 632 patients with thyroid disease (non-toxic goiter, toxic nodular goiter, Graves' disease (with or without orbitopathy), autoimmune hypothyroidism, and other thyroid diseases), 391 of which had participated in a study 5 years previously. Responses to select items were compared to general population data. We used confirmatory factor analyses for categorical data, logistic regression analyses and tests of differential item function, and head-to-head comparisons of relative validity in distinguishing known groups.
Although all work ability items loaded on a common factor, the optimal factor solution included five factors: role physical, role emotional, thyroid-specific limitations, work limitations (without disease attribution), and work performance. The scale on thyroid-specific limitations showed the most power in distinguishing clinical groups and time since diagnosis. A global single item proved useful for comparisons with the general population, and a thyroid-specific item predicted labor market exclusion within the next 5 years (OR 5.0, 95 % CI 2.7-9.1).
Items on work limitations with attribution to thyroid disease were most effective in detecting impact on work ability and showed good predictive validity. Generic work ability items remain useful for general population comparisons.
Quality of Life Research 12/2014; 24(7). DOI:10.1007/s11136-014-0896-0 · 2.49 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PurposeEnzyme replacement therapy (ERT) was offered from year 2001 to patients with Fabry disease. The ophthalmic experience was analysed, as part of a general 10-year status.MethodsA retrospective observational series comprising 39 patients (25 females, 14 males) closely followed by the endocrinologists, and with regular ophthalmic control. Time of inclusion was when the option of ERT was started, at age 11–60 years. Eye data (standard eye examination, including retinal imaging) were incomplete in five, due to death or non-attendance, and five patients had refused treatment.ResultsVision was normal throughout, except in two young males with total unilateral central retinal artery occlusion, prior to and during enzyme replacement, respectively. Cornea verticillata and conjunctival vessel ectasies were common. Tortuosity of retinal arterioles and venules was recorded in eight and 18 patients, respectively, and phlebopathy in 22, although generally without evidence of loss of vessel wall integrity. Systemic vascular lesions with or without loss of function were recorded for kidney (n = 23), heart (n = 17) and brain (n = 7), and an association was suggested between nephropathy and abnormal morphology of retinal vessels.Conclusions
Thirteen of 32 patients on ERT showed a reduction of corneal deposits over the study period. Abnormal ocular vessel morphology was a frequent finding. In contrast to the function loss related to systemic ischaemic lesions, we found no indication of impairment of visual parameters in 37. Compared to other Fabry series, two of 39 patients with serious unilateral occlusive retinal disease may appear a high number. The presence of retinal tortuosity is discussed, possibly reflecting haemodynamic events related to vessel wall deposits, but could also be ‘constitutional’, as part of the Fabry inheritance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thyroid diseases evoke a complex range of psychological and physical symptoms. The psychosocial aspects of living with diseases causing hypo- or hyperthyroidism are poorly understood. In this article, we report the findings of a qualitative interview study in which we explored the lived experiences of 16 people with hypo- or hyperthyroidism. We purposefully selected participants from Danish outpatient clinics according to their diagnosis (Hashimoto's thyroiditis or Graves' disease with or without orbitopathy), age (18 to 65 years), and duration of treatment (more than 6 months). We used interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) as a theoretical frame and analytical approach and identified three superordinate themes: losing control over mental and physical states, ambiguous signs of disease, and negotiating sickness. We discuss the findings in the context of the recent literature on chronic illness and argue that these themes play an important role in the conceptualization and management of thyroid diseases.
Qualitative Health Research 10/2014; 25(7). DOI:10.1177/1049732314554093 · 2.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and aimThyroid diseases are prevalent and chronic. With treatment, quality of life is restored in most, but not all patients. Construct validity of the thyroid-related quality of life questionnaire, ThyPRO, has been established by multi-trait scaling, but not evaluated with more elaborate methods. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate dimensionality of the ThyPRO scales and to attempt to understand possible item misfit through structural equation modeling for categorical data.Methods
The current 84-item version of ThyPRO consists of 13 scales, covering domains of physical (4 scales) and mental (2 scales) symptoms, function and well-being (3 scales) and participation/social function (4 scales). The data were collected from a cross-sectional sample of 907 thyroid patients. One-factor confirmatory models were fitted to each scale, and evaluated by model fit statistics (comparative fit index >0.95, root mean square error of approximation <0.08), magnitude of factor loadings, model residual correlations and modification indices (MI). Indications of multi-dimensionality were tested in bi-factor models. Possible item misfit was evaluated in a combined, investigational model.ResultsEach ThyPRO scale was adequately represented by a unidimensional model after minor revisions. Eleven items were identified in the unidimensional models as potentially misfitting and were investigated further by multidimensional modeling.Conclusion
Elaborate psychometric modeling supported the construct validity of the ThyPRO. However, 11 potentially misfitting items and 18 items with local dependence to other items are candidates for removal in future item reduction processes.
Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 09/2014; 12(1):126. DOI:10.1186/s12955-014-0126-z · 2.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and purpose:
Thyroid diseases are common and often affect quality of life (QoL). No cross-culturally validated patient-reported outcome measuring thyroid-related QoL is available. The purpose of the present study was to test the cross-cultural validity of the newly developed thyroid-related patient-reported outcome ThyPRO, using tests for differential item functioning (DIF) according to language version.
The ThyPRO consists of 85 items summarized in 13 multi-item scales and one single item. Scales cover physical and mental symptoms, well-being and function as well as social and daily function and cosmetic concerns. Translation applied standard forward-backward methodology with subsequent cognitive interviews and reviews. Responses (N = 1,810) to the ThyPRO were collected in seven countries: UK (n = 166), The Netherlands (n = 147), Serbia (n = 150), Italy (n = 110), India (n = 148), Denmark (n = 902) and Sweden (n = 187). Translated versions were compared pairwise to the English version by examining uniform and nonuniform DIF, i.e., whether patients from different countries respond differently to a particular item, although they have identical level of the concept measured by the item. Analyses were controlled for thyroid diagnosis. DIF was investigated by ordinal logistic regression, testing for both statistical significance and magnitude (ΔR (2) > 0.02). Scale level was estimated by the sum score, after purification.
For twelve of the 84 tested items, DIF was identified in more than one language. Eight of these were small, but four were indicative of possible low translatability. Twenty-one instances of DIF in single languages were identified, indicating potential problems with the particular translation. However, only seven were of a magnitude which could affect scale scores, most of which could be explained by sample differences not controlled for.
The ThyPRO has good cross-cultural validity with only minor cross-cultural invariance and is recommended for use in international multicenter studies.
Quality of Life Research 09/2014; 24(3). DOI:10.1007/s11136-014-0798-1 · 2.49 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Graves' disease has been associated with an increased psychiatric morbidity. It is unclarified whether this relates to Graves' disease or chronic disease per se. The aim of our study was to estimate the prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms in patients with Graves' disease compared to patients with another chronic thyroid disease, nodular goitre, and to investigate determinants of anxiety and depression in Graves' disease.
157 cross-sectionally sampled patients with Graves' disease, 17 newly diagnosed, 140 treated, and 251 controls with nodular goitre completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). The differences in the mean HADS scores between the groups were analysed using multiple linear regression, controlling for socio-demographic variables. HADS scores were also analysed dichotomized: a score >10 indicating probable 'anxiety'/probable 'depression'. Determinants of anxiety and depression symptoms in Graves' disease were examined using multiple linear regression.
In Graves' disease levels of anxiety (p = 0.008) and depression (p = 0.014) were significantly higher than in controls. The prevalence of depression was 10% in Graves' disease versus 4% in nodular goitre (p = 0.038), anxiety was 18 versus 13% (p = 0.131). Symptoms of anxiety (p = 0.04) and depression (p = 0.01) increased with comorbidity. Anxiety symptoms increased with duration of Graves' disease (p = 0.04). Neither thyroid function nor autoantibody levels were associated with anxiety and depression symptoms.
Anxiety and depression symptoms were more severe in Graves' disease than in nodular goitre. Symptoms were positively correlated to comorbidity and duration of Graves' disease but neither to thyroid function nor thyroid autoimmunity.
European Thyroid Journal 09/2014; 3(3):173-8. DOI:10.1159/000365211
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and purpose:
Patient-reported outcomes have become important endpoints in comparative effectiveness research and in patient-centered health care. Valid patient-reported outcome measures detect and respond to clinically relevant changes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate responsiveness of the thyroid-related quality of life (QoL) instrument ThyPRO in patients undergoing relevant clinical treatments for benign thyroid diseases and to compare it with responsiveness of the generic SF-36 Health Survey.
A sample of 435 patients undergoing treatment completed the ThyPRO and SF-36 Health Survey (Version 2) at baseline and 6 months after treatment initiation. Responsiveness was evaluated in three thyroid patient groups: patients with hyperthyroidism (n = 66) and hypothyroidism (n = 84) rendered euthyroid after medical therapy, and patients with a clinically detectable nontoxic goiter treated with surgery or radioactive iodine and remaining euthyroid (n = 62). Changes in QoL were evaluated in terms of effect size and compared to the changes predicted by clinical experts. The responsiveness of equivalent scales from ThyPRO and SF-36 Health Survey were compared with the relative validity index.
The ThyPRO demonstrated good responsiveness across the whole range of QoL aspects in patients with hyper- and hypothyroidism. Responsiveness to treatment of nontoxic goiter was also demonstrated for physical and mental symptoms and overall QoL, but not for impact on social life or cosmetic complaints, in contrast to clinicians' predictions. For all comparable scales except one, the ThyPRO was more responsive to treatment than the SF-36 Health Survey.
The ThyPRO was responsive to treatment across the range of benign thyroid diseases. We suggest implementing this measurement instrument as a patient-reported outcome in clinical studies and in clinical management.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 07/2014; DOI:10.1210/jc.2014-1322 · 6.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic autoimmune thyroiditis have impaired health-related quality of life. The thyroid gland has a high selenium concentration, and specific selenoprotein enzyme families are crucial to immune function, and catalyze thyroid hormone metabolism and redox processes in thyroid cells. Previous randomized controlled trials have found that selenium supplementation decreases thyroid-disease-specific antibody levels. We hypothesize that selenium might be beneficial in the treatment of chronic autoimmune thyroiditis.Methods/design: The CATALYST trial is an investigator-initiated randomized, blinded, multicentre clinical trial of selenium supplementation versus placebo in patients with chronic autoimmune thyroiditis. Inclusion criteria: age >=18 years; serum thyroid peroxidase antibody level >=100 IU/ml within the previous 12 months; treatment with levothyroxine and written informed consent. Exclusion criteria: previous diagnosis of toxic nodular goitre, Graves' hyperthyroidism, postpartum thyroiditis, Graves' orbitopathy; previous antithyroid drug treatment, radioiodine therapy or thyroid surgery; immune-modulatory or other medication affecting thyroid function; pregnancy, planned pregnancy or breastfeeding; allergy towards any intervention or placebo component; intake of selenium supplementation >55 mug/day; inability to read or understand Danish or lack of informed consent. The trial will include 2 x 236 participants. The experimental intervention and control groups will receive 200 mug selenium-enriched yeast or matching placebo tablets daily for 12 months. The experimental supplement will be SelenoPrecise(R). The primary outcome is thyroid-related quality of life assessed by the Thyroid Patient-Reported Outcome (ThyPRO) questionnaire. Secondary outcomes include serum thyroid peroxidase antibody concentration; serum triiodothyronine/thyroxine ratio; levothyroxine dosage; adverse reactions and serious adverse effects and events.
In this pragmatic trial, participating patients follow their usual treatment at their usual hospitals. In order to collect high-quality data on the clinical course and quality of life, and to minimize missing data, an elaborate trial management system has been designed. 12 months intervention duration was selected in consideration of the primary outcome, thyroid-related quality of life.Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT02013479.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose. We wanted to investigate the relative significance of fat and muscle enlargement in the development of dysthyroid optic neuropathy (DON) in Graves' orbitopathy (GO). Methods. Preoperative coronal CT scans of 13 patients with and without DON who subsequently underwent orbital decompression were retrospectively analyzed. Thirteen patients imaged for unilateral orbital fractures served as controls. Results. The retrobulbar muscle volume was 2.1 ± 0.5 cm(3) (mean ± SD) in controls, 4.3 ± 1.5 cm(3) in GO without DON, and 4.7 ± 1.7 cm(3) in GO with DON. The retrobulbar fat volume was 5.4 ± 1.6 cm(3) in controls, 8.7 ± 8.0 cm(3) in GO without DON, and 9.4 ± 3.1 cm(3) in GO with DON. The muscle and fat volumes were higher in patients with GO than in controls (P < 0.001), but the volumes in orbits with and without DON were not significantly different. The volume of the optic nerve were similar in the 3 groups. The number of apical, coronal 2 mm thick slices with no fat was 2.9 ± 0.9 in normal orbits, it was 4.1 ± 1.0 in GO orbits without DON and 5.3 ± 0.8 in GO orbits with DON (P = 0.007). Conclusion. Apical muscle enlargement may be more important than orbital fat enlargement in the development of DON. However, the fact that apical crowding and muscle enlargement also occur in orbits without DON suggests that other factors also play a role in the development of DON.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many clinical trials are conducted as explanatory trials, but the applicability of results from explanatory trials to clinical practice may be questioned. Pragmatic trials elucidate both benefits and harms of an intervention under conditions close to daily clinical practice. We have planned a pragmatic multi-centre trial in patients with Graves' hyperthyroidism. However, trial management is a complicated task in pragmatic trials, due to limited interaction between participants and trial personnel.
The aim of this project was to develop and implement PROgmatic, a fully integrated trial management system for pragmatic multi-centre trials, optimised for electronic data capture and patient-reported outcomes (PROs).
Necessary tasks and logistical challenges that should be handled by PROgmatic were identified, and the system was designed and developed to handle these tasks. A combination of generic applications and custom coding was applied to develop an integrated system that met the required needs. PROgmatic features include secure web-based data entry; electronic case report forms (eCRFs); central participant registration and randomisation; automated emails linking to electronic PROs; automated reminders to participants; automated notifications to trial personnel regarding booking of trial visits, safety and compliance alerts; and monitoring of trial progress. PROgmatic underwent rigorous pilot testing, including data verification and validation, before it was released for trial management.
PROgmatic was successfully implemented in the GRAves' Selenium Supplementation (GRASS) trial (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01611896) December 2012. The feedback from trial personnel on usability and utility has been positive, and PROgmatic has handled all intended tasks properly.
Implementation of PROgmatic in future studies requires adaptation of the custom coding. Not all email systems accept emails with active links, and participants who use these systems therefore need to complete paper surveys.
PROgmatic facilitated the complex task of conducting a pragmatic multi-centre trial. The automated electronic capture of PRO data is time saving and reduces the risk of erroneous data entry. Email notifications to trial personnel combined with serially activated eCRFs that logically lead patient flow through the trial have helped making the pragmatic trial feasible. PROgmatic provides a template for other pragmatic multi-centre trials with patient-reported measures as high-priority outcomes.