Macken L, et al. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2020.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care remains suboptimal in end-stage liver disease.
AIM: To inform a definitive study, we assessed palliative long-term abdominal drains in end-stage liver disease to determine recruitment, attrition, safety/potential effectiveness, questionnaires/interview uptake/completion and make a preliminary cost comparison.
METHODS: A 12-week feasibility nonblinded randomised controlled trial comparing large-volume paracentesis vs long-term abdominal drains in refractory ascites due to end-stage liver disease with fortnightly home visits for clinical/questionnaire-based assessments. Study success criteria were attrition not >50%, <10% long-term abdominal drain removal due to complications, the long-term abdominal drain group to spend <50% ascites-related study time in hospital vs large-volume paracentesis group and 80% questionnaire/interview uptake/completion.
RESULTS: Of 59 eligible patients, 36 (61%) were randomised, 17 to long-term abdominal drain and 19 to large-volume paracentesis. Following randomisation, median number (IQR) of hospital ascitic drains (long-term abdominal drain group vs large-volume paracentesis group) were 0 (0-1) vs 4 (3-7); week 12 serum albumin (g/L) and serum creatinine (μmol/L) were 29 (26.5-32.5) vs 30 (25-35) and 104.5 (81-115.5) vs 127 (63-158) respectively. Total attrition was 42% (long-term abdominal drain group 47%, large-volume paracentesis group 37%). Median (IQR) fortnightly community/hospital/social care ascites-related costs and percentage study time in hospital were lower in the long-term abdominal drain group, £329 (253-580) vs £843 (603-1060) and 0% (0-0.74) vs 2.75% (2.35-3.84) respectively. Self-limiting cellulitis/leakage occurred in 41% (7/17) in the long-term abdominal drain group vs 11% (2/19) in the large-volume paracentesis group; peritonitis incidence was 6% (1/17) vs 11% (2/19) respectively. Questionnaires/interview uptake/completion were ≥80%; interviews indicated that long-term abdominal drains could transform the care pathway.
CONCLUSIONS: The REDUCe study demonstrates feasibility with preliminary evidence of long-term abdominal drain acceptability/effectiveness/safety and reduction in health resource utilisation.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN30697116, date assigned: 07/10/2015.