Improving venous ulcer healing: Designing and reporting randomised controlled trials
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The randomised controlled trial (RCT) is often considered the gold standard for judging the benefits of treatments. The application of randomised controlled clinical trials to treatments of venous ulcer healing has lagged behind that of other areas of medicine. To interpret the results of an RCT, readers must understand a variety of aspects of their design, analysis and interpretation. Venous ulcer disease has a high prevalence and has a significant socioeconomic impact in most parts of the world. The management of venous ulcers causes a considerable strain on the health system and is likely to worsen in future. The multi-layer high compression system is described as the current gold standard for treating venous ulcers. A recent meta-analysis of bandaging systems found that multi-layer compression bandages appeared to be superior to single-layer bandages in promoting venous ulcer healing. However, it was noted that many of the studies had small sample sizes and the quality of research in the area was poor. The consolidating standards of reporting trials (CONSORT) statement can help clinicians to discern high-quality studies from ones of poorer quality. This paper discusses how CONSORT can help clinicians and researchers to design and report quality studies to contribute to evidence-based venous ulcer healing. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Medicalhelplines.com Inc.
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