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Success of blinding a procedural intervention in a randomised controlled trial in preterm infants receiving respiratory support

Reid, Elizabeth; Kamlin, Omar F; Orsini, Francesca; De Paoli, Antonio G; Clark, Howard W; Soll, Roger F; Carlin, John B; ... Dargaville, Peter A; + view all (2023) Success of blinding a procedural intervention in a randomised controlled trial in preterm infants receiving respiratory support. Clinical Trials , 20 (5) pp. 479-485. 10.1177/17407745231171647. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Blinding of treatment allocation from treating clinicians in neonatal randomised controlled trials can minimise performance bias, but its effectiveness is rarely assessed. // Methods: To examine the effectiveness of blinding a procedural intervention from treating clinicians in a multicentre randomised controlled trial of minimally invasive surfactant therapy versus sham treatment in preterm infants of gestation 25–28 weeks with respiratory distress syndrome. The intervention (minimally invasive surfactant therapy or sham) was performed behind a screen within the first 6 h of life by a ‘study team’ uninvolved in clinical care including decision-making. Procedure duration and the study team’s words and actions during the sham treatment mimicked those of the minimally invasive surfactant therapy procedure. Post-intervention, three clinicians completed a questionnaire regarding perceived group allocation, with the responses matched against actual intervention and categorised as correct, incorrect, or unsure. Success of blinding was calculated using validated blinding indices applied to the data overall (James index, successful blinding defined as > 0.50), or to the two treatment allocation groups (Bang index, successful blinding: −0.30 to 0.30). Blinding success was measured within staff role, and the associations between blinding success and procedural duration and oxygenation improvement post-procedure were estimated. // Results: From 1345 questionnaires in relation to a procedural intervention in 485 participants, responses were categorised as correct in 441 (33%), incorrect in 142 (11%), and unsure in 762 (57%), with similar proportions for each of the response categories in the two treatment arms. The James index indicated successful blinding overall 0.67 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.65–0.70). The Bang index was 0.28 (95% CI 0.23–0.32) in the minimally invasive surfactant therapy group and 0.17 (95% CI 0.12–0.21) in the sham arm. Neonatologists more frequently guessed the correct intervention (47%) than bedside nurses (36%), neonatal trainees (31%), and other nurses (24%). For the minimally invasive surfactant therapy intervention, the Bang index was linearly related to procedural duration and oxygenation improvement post-procedure. No evidence of such relationships was seen in the sham arm. // Conclusion: Blinding of a procedural intervention from clinicians is both achievable and measurable in neonatal randomised controlled trials.

Type: Article
Title: Success of blinding a procedural intervention in a randomised controlled trial in preterm infants receiving respiratory support
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/17407745231171647
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/17407745231171647
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Blinding success; procedural intervention; blinding assessment; preterm infants; randomised controlled trials
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health > Neonatology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10178627
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