A single-arm trial indirect comparison investigation: a proof-of-concept method to predict venous leg ulcer healing time for a new acellular synthetic matrix matched to standard care control
To compare data on time to healing from two separate cohorts: one treated with a new acellular synthetic matrix plus standard care (SC) and one matched from four large UK pragmatic, randomised controlled trials [venous leg ulcer (VLU) evidence network]. We introduce a new proof-of-concept strategy to a VLU clinical evidence network, propensity score matching and sensitivity analysis to predict the feasibility of the new acellular synthetic matrix plus SC for success in future randomised, controlled clinical trials. Prospective data on chronic VLUs from a safety and effectiveness study on an acellular synthetic matrix conducted in one wound centre in the UK (17 patients) and three wound centres in Australia (36 patients) were compared retrospectively to propensity score-matched data from patients with comparable leg ulcer disease aetiology, age, baseline ulcer area, ulcer duration, multi-layer compression bandaging and majority of care completed in specialist wound centres (average of 1 visit per week), with the outcome measures at comparable follow-up periods from patients enrolled in four prospective, multicentre, pragmatic, randomised studies of venous ulcers in the UK (the comparison group; VLU evidence network). Analysis using Kaplan-Meier survival curves showed a mean healing time of 73·1 days for ASM plus SC (ASM) treated ulcers in comparison with 83·5 days for comparison group ulcers treated with SC alone (Log rank test, χ(2) 5·779, P = 0·016) within 12 weeks. Sensitivity analysis indicates that an unobserved covariate would have to change the odds of healing for SC by a factor of 1·1 to impact the baseline results. Results from this study predict a significant effect on healing time when using a new ASM as an adjunct to SC in the treatment of non-healing venous ulcers in the UK, but results are sensitive to unobserved covariates that may be important in healing time comparison.
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