Core outcome set for burn care research: Delphi survey data



Background: Collated evidence from systematic reviews supports clinicians in identifying optimal treatment for patients. Evidence is created from outcomes that, in burn care, include survival, function, cosmesis, pain, and psychological well-being. Currently, this is limited because of variation in outcomes reported across trials. Improved selection and reporting of outcomes in primary research in burn care could improve treatment globally by improving data synthesis and the quality of evidence. The availability of a Core Outcome Set (COS), a minimum set of the most important outcomes to be reported in all trials of a medical condition, would resolve this issue. The aim of this study is to develop a COS for international burn care research. Methods and findings: Candidate outcomes were identified from systematic reviews and stakeholder interviews. Through two rounds of a Delphi survey, international multi-disciplinary clinicians, researchers, and UK patients and carers prioritised the outcomes. Anonymised feedback aimed to achieve consensus. Pre-defined criteria for retaining and dropping outcomes were agreed upon. A consensus meeting with voting was held to finalise the COS. Examination of all data sources identified 1,021 unique outcomes grouped into 88 candidate outcomes. Stakeholders included 668 health professionals from 77 countries and 126 UK patients/carers; 25% of clinical participants were from low- or low-middle-income countries. After Round 1, one outcome was discarded, and 13 new outcomes were added. After Round 2, 69 items were discarded, leaving 31 outcomes for the consensus meeting. Discussion and voting agreed on seven core outcomes: death, specified complications, ability to do daily tasks, time to wound healing, neuropathic pain and itch, psychological well-being, and time to return to school/work. Conclusions: This is the first COS for international burn care research. Implementation is now needed to improve data synthesis, and support evidence-based clinical decision-making in global burn care. It is recommended that future trials include measures of these seven outcomes.
Date made available5 Jul 2022

Cite this