Introduction The peripheral nerves of patients with diabetes are often pathologically swollen, which results in entrapment at places of anatomical narrowing. This results in nerve dysfunction. Surgical treatment of compression neuropathies in the lower extremities (lower extremity nerve decompression (LEND)) results in relief of symptoms and gain in peripheral nerve function, which may lead to less sensory loss (short term) and less associated detrimental effects including foot ulceration and amputations, and lower costs (long term). The aim of the DeCompression trial is to evaluate the effectiveness and (cost-)effectiveness of surgical decompression of compressed lower extremity nerves (LEND surgery) compared with patients treated with conventional (non-surgical) care.
Methods and analysis A stratified randomised (1 to 1) controlled trial comparing LEND surgery (intervention) with conventional non-surgical care (control strategy) in subjects with diabetes with problems of neuropathy due to compression neuropathies in the lower extremity. Randomisation is stratified for participating hospital (n=11) and gender. Patients and controls have the same follow-up at 1.5, 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24 and 48 months. Participants (n=344) will be recruited in 12 months and enrolled in all affiliated hospitals in which they receive both the intervention or conventional non-surgical care and follow-up. Outcome assessors are blinded to group assignment. Primary outcome: disease-specific quality of life (Norfolk Quality of Life Questionnaire-Diabetic Neuropathy). Secondary outcomes: health-related quality of life (EuroQoL 5-dimension 5-level (EQ-5D5L), 36-item Short Form (SF-36)), plantar sensation (Rotterdam Diabetic Foot Test Battery), incidence of ulcerations/amputations, resource use and productivity loss (Medical Cost Questionnaire, Productivity Cost Questionnaire) during follow-up. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio will be estimated on the basis of the collected empirical data and a cost-utility model.
Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval has been granted by the Medical Research Ethics Committee of Utrecht University Medical Center (reference: NL68312.041.19v5, protocol number: 19-335/M). Dissemination of results will be via journal articles and presentations at national and international conferences.