+1 Recommend
0 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Redesigning a large school-based clinical trial in response to changes in community practice


      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


          Background Asthma exacerbations are seasonal with the greatest risk in elementary-age students occurring shortly after returning to school following summer break. Recent research suggests that this seasonality in children is primarily related to viral respiratory tract infections. Regular hand washing is the most effective method to prevent the spread of viral respiratory infections; unfortunately, achieving hand washing recommendations in schools is difficult. Therefore, we designed a study to evaluate the effect of hand sanitizer use in elementary schools on exacerbations among children with asthma.

          Purpose To describe the process of redesigning the trial in response to changes in the safety profile of the hand sanitizer as well as changes in hand hygiene practice in the schools.

          Methods The original trial was a randomized, longitudinal, subject-blinded, placebo-controlled, community-based crossover trial. The primary aim was to evaluate the incremental effectiveness of hand sanitizer use in addition to usual hand hygiene practices to decrease asthma exacerbations in elementary-age children. Three events occurred that required major modifications to the original study protocol: (1) safety concerns arose regarding the hand sanitizer’s active ingredient; (2) no substitute placebo hand sanitizer was available; and (3) community preferences changed regarding hand hygiene practices in the schools.

          Results The revised protocol is a randomized, longitudinal, community-based crossover trial. The primary aim is to evaluate the incremental effectiveness of a two-step hand hygiene process (hand hygiene education plus institutionally provided alcohol-based hand sanitizer) versus usual care to decrease asthma exacerbations. Enrollment was completed in May 2009 with 527 students from 30 schools. The intervention began in August 2009 and will continue through May 2011. Study results should be available at the end of 2011.

          Limitations The changed design does not allow us to directly measure the effectiveness of hand sanitizer use as a supplement to traditional hand washing practices.

          Conclusions The need to balance a rigorous study design with one that is acceptable to the community requires investigators to be actively involved with community collaborators and able to adapt study protocols to fit changing community practices.

          Related collections

          Most cited references41

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Community study of role of viral infections in exacerbations of asthma in 9-11 year old children.

          To study the association between upper and lower respiratory viral infections and acute exacerbations of asthma in schoolchildren in the community. Community based 13 month longitudinal study using diary card respiratory symptom and peak expiratory flow monitoring to allow early sampling for viruses. 108 Children aged 9-11 years who had reported wheeze or cough, or both, in a questionnaire. Southampton and surrounding community. Upper and lower respiratory viral infections detected by polymerase chain reaction or conventional methods, reported exacerbations of asthma, computer identified episodes of respiratory tract symptoms or peak flow reductions. Viruses were detected in 80% of reported episodes of reduced peak expiratory flow, 80% of reported episodes of wheeze, and in 85% of reported episodes of upper respiratory symptoms, cough, wheeze, and a fall in peak expiratory flow. The median duration of reported falls in peak expiratory flow was 14 days, and the median maximum fall in peak expiratory flow was 81 l/min. The most commonly identified virus type was rhinovirus. This study supports the hypothesis that upper respiratory viral infections are associated with 80-85% of asthma exacerbations in school age children.
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            Rhinovirus and respiratory syncytial virus in wheezing children requiring emergency care. IgE and eosinophil analyses.

            This cross-sectional emergency department study of 70 wheezing children and 59 control subjects (2 mo to 16 yr of age) examined the prevalence of respiratory viruses and their relationship to age, atopic status, and eosinophil markers. Nasal washes were cultured for respiratory viruses, assayed for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) antigen, and tested for coronavirus and rhinovirus RNA using reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). Also evaluated were eosinophil numbers and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) in both nasal washes and serum, along with total IgE and specific IgE antibody in serum. Respiratory viruses were detected in 82% (18 of 22) of wheezing infants younger than 2 yr of age and in 83% (40 of 48) of older wheezing children. The predominant pathogens were RSV in infants (detected in 68% of wheezing subjects) and rhinovirus in older wheezing children (71%), and both were strongly associated with wheezing (p < 0.005). RSV was largely limited to wheezing children younger than 24 mo of age, but rhinovirus was detected by RT-PCR in 41% of all infants and in 35% of nonwheezing control subjects older than 2 yr of age. After 2 yr of age the strongest odds for wheezing were observed among those who had a positive RT-PCR test for rhinovirus together with a positive serum radioallergosorbent testing (RAST), nasal eosinophilia, or elevated nasal ECP (odds ratios = 17, 21, and 25, respectively). Results from this study demonstrate that a large majority of emergent wheezing illnesses during childhood (2 to 16 yr of age) can be linked to infection with rhinovirus, and that these wheezing attacks are most likely in those who have rhinovirus together with evidence of atopy or eosinophilic airway inflammation.
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              The September epidemic of asthma exacerbations in children: A search for etiology

              Background Predictable peaks of asthma exacerbation requiring hospital treatment, of greatest magnitude in children and of uncertain etiology, occur globally after school returns. Objective We wished to determine whether asthmatic children requiring emergency department treatment for exacerbations after school return in September were more likely to have respiratory viruses present and less likely to have prescriptions for control medications than children with equally severe asthma not requiring emergent treatment. Methods Rates of viral detection and characteristics of asthma management in 57 (of 60) children age 5 to 15 years presenting to emergency departments with asthma in 2 communities in Canada between September 10 and 30, 2001, (cases) were compared with those in 157 age-matched volunteer children with asthma of comparable severity studied simultaneously (controls). Results Human picornaviruses were detected in 52% of cases and 29% of controls (P = .002) and viruses of any type in 62% of cases and 41% of controls (P = .011). Cases were less likely to have been prescribed controller medication (inhaled corticosteroid, 49% vs 85%; P < .0001; leukotriene receptor antagonist, 9% vs 21%; P = .04). Conclusion Respiratory viruses were detected in the majority of children presenting to emergency departments with asthma during the September epidemic of the disease and in a significant minority of children with asthma in the community. The latter were more likely to have anti-inflammatory medication prescriptions than children requiring emergent treatment. Such medication may reduce the risk of emergency department treatment for asthma during the September epidemic.

                Author and article information

                Clin Trials
                Clinical Trials (London, England)
                SAGE Publications (Sage UK: London, England )
                June 2011
                June 2011
                : 8
                : 3
                : 311-319
                [a ]Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and the Arizona Respiratory Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
                [b ]Department of Biostatistics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
                [c ]Lung Health Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
                Author notes
                [*]Lynn B Gerald, University of Arizona, Mel and Enid Zuckerman, College of Public Health, and the Arizona Respiratory Center, Tucson, AZ, USA. E-mail: lgerald@ 123456email.arizona.edu
                © The Author(s), 2011. Reprints and permissions: http://www.sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.




                Comment on this article