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Image relating to UHCW-led study, published in The Lancet, breaks new ground in assessing new surgical procedures

UHCW-led study, published in The Lancet, breaks new ground in assessing new surgical procedures

A study led by University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust into a potential new treatment for injured shoulders has featured in The Lancet, the world’s oldest and best-known general medical journal.

It can be found here.

The START:REACTS Trial, run in partnership with Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, launched in 2018 and was carried out at 24 UK hospitals.

Investigators were studying whether the InSpace balloon could be used to treat people with rotator cuff tears that cannot be repaired.

But while the results found no advantage in using the new surgical device, the study did provide other significant successes.

Chief investigator Mr Andy Metcalfe, a surgeon at UHCW, explained: “Using new statistical techniques, we were able to shorten the study and get an answer much quicker.

“Initially, we were looking for 221 patients for the trial but in the end we were able to stop at 117 and finish in July 2020 - a year earlier than scheduled.

“This method is something that we believe can be transferred to other trials and could result in patients receiving potentially life-changing treatment sooner.”

Rotator cuff tears of the shoulder are a common cause of pain and loss of function, which can include severe pain or limitations. Sometimes these problems are improved by simple treatments but around one in three people with a tear need surgery.

Whilst many tears are repaired, some cannot be. It can be difficult to know what treatment is best for people who have a tear that cannot be repaired and this study looked to find what the best treatment was for people with this problem.

To have an article published in The Lancet, studies go through a thorough peer-review and editing process and very few papers make it through to publication.

“It is a great accomplishment for all the team involved and shows the world-leading research we are carrying out at UHCW,” added Andy.

The study was funded by an National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and Medical Research Council (MRC) partnership.

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