LEAK study: design of a nationwide randomised controlled trial to find the best way to treat wound leakage after primary hip and knee arthroplasty

Claudia A M Löwik, Frank-Christiaan Wagenaar, Walter van der Weegen, Rudolf W Poolman, Rob G H H Nelissen, Sjoerd K Bulstra, Yvette Pronk, Karin M Vermeulen, Marjan Wouthuyzen-Bakker, Inge van den Akker-Scheek, Martin Stevens, Paul C Jutte, LEAK study group

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INTRODUCTION: Total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) are highly successful treatment modalities for advanced osteoarthritis. However, prolonged wound leakage after arthroplasty is linked to prosthetic joint infection (PJI), which is a potentially devastating complication. On the one hand, wound leakage is reported as a risk factor for PJI with a leaking wound acting as a porte d'entrée for micro-organisms. On the other hand, prolonged wound leakage can be a symptom of PJI. Literature addressing prolonged wound leakage is scarce, contradictory and of poor methodological quality. Hence, treatment of prolonged wound leakage varies considerably with both non-surgical and surgical treatment modalities. There is a definite need for evidence concerning the best way to treat prolonged wound leakage after joint arthroplasty.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A prospective nationwide randomised controlled trial will be conducted in 35 hospitals in the Netherlands. The goal is to include 388 patients with persistent wound leakage 9-10 days after THA or TKA. These patients will be randomly allocated to non-surgical treatment (pressure bandages, (bed) rest and wound care) or surgical treatment (debridement, antibiotics and implant retention (DAIR)). DAIR will also be performed on all non-surgically treated patients with persistent wound leakage at day 16-17 after index surgery, regardless of amount of wound leakage, other clinical parameters or C reactive protein. Clinical data are entered into a web-based database. Patients are asked to fill in questionnaires about disease-specific outcomes, quality of life and cost effectiveness at 3, 6 and 12 months after surgery. Primary outcome is the number of revision surgeries due to infection within a year of arthroplasty.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The Review Board of each participating hospital has approved the local feasibility. The results will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.


Original languageEnglish
Article number018673
Number of pages6
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2017



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