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Preoperative behavioural intervention to reduce drinking before elective orthopaedic surgery: the PRE-OP BIRDS feasibility RCT

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christopher Snowden, Dr Ellen Lynch, Dr Leah Avery, Denise Howel, Valentina Mamasoula, Dr Eilish Gilvarry, Emerita Professor Elaine McCollORCiD, Dr Michael Prentis, Dr Alison SteelORCiD, Nicola GoudieORCiD, Nicola HoweORCiD, Professor Eileen KanerORCiD


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BACKGROUND: Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of postoperative complications and extended hospital stay. Alcohol consumption therefore represents a modifiable risk factor for surgical outcomes. Brief behavioural interventions have been shown to be effective in reducing alcohol consumption among increased risk and risky drinkers in other health-care settings and may offer a method of addressing preoperative alcohol consumption. OBJECTIVES: To investigate the feasibility of introducing a screening process to assess adult preoperative drinking levels and to deliver a brief behavioural intervention adapted for the target population group. To conduct a two-arm (brief behavioural intervention plus standard preoperative care vs. standard preoperative care alone), multicentre, pilot randomised controlled trial to assess the feasibility of proceeding to a definitive trial. To conduct focus groups and a national web-based survey to establish current treatment as usual for alcohol screening and intervention in preoperative assessment. DESIGN: A single-centre, qualitative, feasibility study was followed by a multicentre, two-arm (brief behavioural intervention vs. treatment as usual), individually randomised controlled pilot trial with an embedded qualitative process evaluation. Focus groups and a quantitative survey were employed to characterise treatment as usual in preoperative assessment. SETTING: The feasibility study took place at a secondary care hospital in the north-east of England. The pilot trial was conducted at three large secondary care centres in the north-east of England. PARTICIPANTS: Nine health-care professionals and 15 patients (mean age 70.5 years, 86.7% male) participated in the feasibility study. Eleven health-care professionals and 68 patients (mean age 66.2 years, 80.9% male) participated in the pilot randomised trial. An additional 19 health-care professionals were recruited to one of three focus groups, while 62 completed an electronic survey to characterise treatment as usual. INTERVENTIONS: The brief behavioural intervention comprised two sessions. The first session, delivered face to face in the preoperative assessment clinic, involved 5 minutes of structured brief advice followed by 15-20 minutes of behaviour change counselling, including goal-setting, problem-solving and identifying sources of social support. The second session, an optional booster, took place approximately 1 week before surgery and offered the opportunity to assess progress and boost self-efficacy. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Feasibility was assessed using rates of eligibility, recruitment and retention. The progression criteria for a definitive trial were recruitment of ≥ 40% of eligible patients and retention of ≥ 70% at 6-month follow-up. Acceptability was assessed using themes identified in qualitative data. RESULTS: The initial recruitment of eligible patients was low but improved with the optimisation of recruitment processes. The recruitment of eligible participants to the pilot trial (34%) fell short of the progression criteria but was mitigated by very high retention (96%) at the 6-month follow-up. Multimethod analyses identified the methods as acceptable to the patients and professionals involved and offers recommendations of ways to further improve recruitment. CONCLUSIONS: The evidence supports the feasibility of a definitive trial to assess the effectiveness of brief behavioural intervention in reducing preoperative alcohol consumption and for secondary outcomes of surgical complications if recommendations for further improvements are adopted. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN36257982. FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 24, No. 12. See the National Institute for Health Research Journals Library website for further project information.Most patients undergoing knee and hip replacements are over 65 years old. Older patients have an increased risk of complications following surgery. Heavy alcohol consumption in the weeks before surgery increases the risk of complications after surgery, which can extend recovery times. Advice that helps patients reduce their alcohol consumption before surgery may have benefits for recovery. The PRE-OP BIRDS study had two parts: a feasibility study followed by a pilot randomised controlled trial with focus groups and an electronic survey used to characterise usual care in the preoperative assessment clinic. The feasibility study took place at one hospital. It aimed to develop materials that help health-care professionals provide brief advice to patients on how to reduce alcohol consumption before surgery. This brief advice was delivered to eligible patients and the acceptability to staff and patients was assessed in interviews. The pilot trial took place in three hospitals. Patients who agreed to take part were placed, by equal chance, into either a group that received usual care or a group that received usual care plus brief advice about reducing alcohol use. The aim was to count how many people agreed to take part and how many also agreed to complete a follow-up 6 months later. Interviews were carried out with patients and staff to explore their views on the intervention and the trial as a whole. All of this information was collected to help decide if a future larger trial was possible. This work found that the tools used were acceptable to both patients and staff. Although the number of people who agreed to take part was smaller than hoped, almost all of those who took part also completed the 6-month follow-up. Therefore, a future larger trial was found to be possible, but some changes could be made to encourage more people to take part.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Snowden C, Lynch E, Avery L, Haighton C, Howel D, Mamasoula V, Gilvarry E, McColl E, Prentis J, Gerrand C, Steel A, Goudie N, Howe N, Kaner E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Health Technology Assessment

Year: 2020

Volume: 24

Issue: 12

Pages: 1-176

Print publication date: 01/03/2020

Acceptance date: 01/05/2019

ISSN (print): 1366-5278

ISSN (electronic): 2046-4924

Publisher: NIHR Journals Library


DOI: 10.3310/hta24120

PubMed id: 32131964


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