Evidence

Alerts

The latest important research summarised

Short summaries of the latest health research presented in plain English to promote use of research by all members of society.

Alert

Using wires to fix wrist fracture has good long-term outcome

Fixing a displaced broken wrist with wires is as effective as fixation with locking plates in the long term. Wrist function and pain continue to improve in the five years following either operation, with no evidence of a difference between the two treatments. In 2014, a trial comparing the use of Kirschner wires and locking plates …

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Plasma and blood cell injections have not shown a benefit for Achilles tendon injury

Injecting a ruptured Achilles tendon with a small sample of a person’s own plasma, without the red blood cells, has no functional or other benefit. Plasma rich in platelets and white blood cells for the acute injury was compared with placebo. The NIHR-funded trial involved 230 adults with acute Achilles tendon rupture (the tendon which …

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Decision aids including leaflets and computer programs help patients make treatment choices

Decision aids help patients choose between treatment options in obstetrics and gynaecology, and reduce uncertainty. A systematic review of trials of decision aids used for choices of contraception, caesarean section and menopause treatment found that patients who used them felt more confident in their ability to make the decision that was right for them, and …

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A lifestyle change programme not effective for those at risk of heart disease or stroke

A package of extra support, including motivational interviewing, did not add value in terms of boosting weight loss or physical activity in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease, a new study has found. This NIHR-funded trial recruited 1,220 people deemed at high risk of heart disease or stroke. Researchers compared the clinical and cost-effectiveness …

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People leave hospital after surgery sooner if hospitals follow ‘enhanced recovery protocols’

Strategies to improve or enhance recovery after planned surgery can reduce the amount of time people over 60 spend in hospital, compared with standard care. These strategies include minimising fasting before operations, targeted anaesthesia, getting people up and about quickly after surgery and an early return to eating. In this review, hospital stay could be …

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Structured nurse ward rounds support accountability and risk management but not nurse-patient communication

Scheduling regular nurse bedside ward rounds (called ‘intentional rounding’) may not improve nurse-patient communication, as most interactions occur outside of these rounds. The rounds are intended to improve accountability and provide evidence that risks are being managed when correctly documented. Intentional rounding was introduced as a UK Government policy imperative to facilitate regular interactions between …

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Melatonin shows potential for reducing delirium among older people after surgery

Taking melatonin around the time of surgery is linked with lower odds of delirium onset in older people, compared with placebo or no treatment. In a systematic review and meta-analysis, around 15% of the melatonin group developed delirium after surgery compared with around 20% of the comparison group. Delirium is an acute state of mental …

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NHS health check attendance improves with changes to the invitation letter

Invitation letters improve uptake when they address common concerns and reasons for not attending the free NHS Health Checks. People are invited to attend a check every five years between 40 and 74 years, but uptake has been low. This trial of 6,313 patients from six general practices in Northampton found that presenting reasons for non-attendance …

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Age of stored blood used for transfusions in critically ill children doesn’t affect outcomes

Using more recently-collected red blood cells for transfusions does not reduce organ dysfunction, infection or risk of death in critically ill children, compared with blood that has been stored for longer. This large, international trial included more than 1,500 children in paediatric intensive care units. The study provides robust evidence to support the continued practice …

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ICU admission decision support tool showed promise but was rarely used

A decision support tool developed to help doctors determine whether patients should be admitted to intensive care showed promise in facilitating patient-clinician communication, but was not often used by doctors, with fewer than 30% using the forms. Intensive care can deliver lifesaving treatment. It can be invasive and distressing with no guarantee of success. At …

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