A pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of a tailored intervention to improve the initial management of suspected encephalitis



Backman, Ruth, Foy, Robbie, Diggle, Peter J, Kneen, Rachel, Easton, Ave, Defres, Sylviane, McGill, Fiona, Michael, Benedict Daniel ORCID: 0000-0002-8693-8926, Solomon, Tom ORCID: 0000-0001-7266-6547 and Comm, ENCEPHUK Programme Steering
(2018) A pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of a tailored intervention to improve the initial management of suspected encephalitis. PLoS One, 13 (12).

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Abstract

Objective To determine whether a tailored multifaceted implementation strategy improves the initial management of patients with suspected encephalitis. Design Pragmatic two arm cluster randomised controlled trial. Setting Hospitals within the United Kingdom. Participants Twenty-four hospitals nested within 12 postgraduate deaneries. Patients were identified retrospectively by searching discharge, microbiology, radiology and pharmacy records and included if they met clinical criteria or had a recorded suspicion of encephalitis. Intervention An implementation strategy designed to overcome barriers to change, comprising local action planning, education and training, feedback on performance, a lumbar puncture pack and a range of optional components. Outcomes The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with suspected encephalitis undergoing diagnostic lumbar puncture within 12 hours of admission and starting aciclovir treatment within six hours. Secondary outcomes included the proportions of adults and children who had a lumbar puncture, who had appropriate cerebrospinal fluid investigations, and who had appropriate radiological imaging within 24 hours of admission. Data were collected from patient records for 12 months before and 12 months during the intervention period, and analysed blind to allocation. Results 13 hospitals were randomised to intervention and 11 to control (no intervention), with 266 and 223 patients with suspected encephalitis identified respectively. There was no significant difference in primary outcome between intervention and control hospitals (13.5% and 14.8% respectively, p = 0.619; treatment effect -0.188, 95% confidence interval -0.927 to 0.552), but both had improved compared to pre-intervention (8.5%). Conclusion The improvement in both intervention and control arms may reflect overall progress in management of encephalitis through wider awareness and education.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2019 15:01
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2021 04:30
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0202257
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3030558