Introduction and hypothesis Mixed urinary incontinence (MUI) can be a challenging condition to manage. We describe the protocol design and rationale for the Effects of Surgical Treatment Enhanced with Exercise for Mixed Urinary Incontinence (ESTEEM) trial, designed to compare a combined conservative and surgical treatment approach versus surgery alone for improving patient-centered MUI outcomes at 12 months.
Methods ESTEEM is a multisite, prospective, randomized trial of female participants with MUI randomized to a standardized perioperative behavioral/pelvic floor exercise intervention phis midurethral sling versus midurethral sling alone. We describe our methods and four challenges encountered during the design phase: defusing the study population, selecting relevant patient-centered outcomes, determining sample size estimates using a patient-reported outcome measure, and designing an analysis plan that accommodates MUI failure rates. A central theme in the design was patient centeredness, which guided many key decisions. Our primary outcome is patient reported MUI symptoms measured using the Urogenital Distress Inventory (UDI) score at 12 months. Secondary outcomes include quality of life, sexual function, cost-effectiveness, time to failure, and need for additional treatment.
Results The final study design was implemented in November 2013 across eight clinical sites in the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network. As of 27 February 2016, 433 total/472 targeted participants had been randomized.
Conclusions We describe the ESTEEM protocol and our methods for reaching consensus for methodological challenges in designing a trial for MUI by maintaining the patient perspective at the core of key decisions. This trial will provide information that can directly impact patient care and clinical decision making.