Dex-CSDH randomised, placebo-controlled trial of dexamethasone for chronic subdural haematoma: report of the internal pilot phase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Dex-CSDH trial collaborative and BNTRC collaborative

External organisations

  • Division of Neurosurgery, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Box 167, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK.
  • Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Division of Neurosurgery, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Box 167, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK.
  • Southwest Neurosurgical Centre, Plymouth University Hospitals NHS trust, Plymouth, PL6 8DH, UK.
  • Wessex Neurological Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Tremona Rd, Southampton, Hampshire, SO16 6YD, UK.
  • Institute of Neurosciences, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, 1345 Govan Road, Glasgow, G51 4TF, UK.
  • Department of Neurosurgery, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Glossop Road, Sheffield, S10 2JF, UK.
  • Department of Neurosurgery, Leeds General Infirmary, Great George Street, Leeds, LS1 3EX, UK.
  • Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2WB, UK.
  • Department of Neurosurgery, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Fulham Palace Road, London, W6 8RF, UK.
  • Department of Neurosurgery, The James Cook University Hospital, Marton Road, Middlesbrough, TS4 3BW, UK.
  • Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit (CCTU), Coton House, Level 6, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Box 401, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK.
  • University of East Anglia
  • Department of Neurosurgery, Barts Health NHS trust, Whitechapel Road, London, E1 1BB, UK.
  • NIHR Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre & University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Birmingham, Institute of Biomedical Research (West), Room WX 2.61, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.
  • MRC Biostatistics Unit, Robinson Way, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge, CB2 0SR, UK.
  • Clinical Trials Pharmacy, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK.
  • Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospitals NHS Trust, Crewe Road, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU, UK.


The Dex-CSDH trial is a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of dexamethasone for patients with a symptomatic chronic subdural haematoma. The trial commenced with an internal pilot, whose primary objective was to assess the feasibility of multi-centre recruitment. Primary outcome data collection and safety were also assessed, whilst maintaining blinding. We aimed to recruit 100 patients from United Kingdom Neurosurgical Units within 12 months. Trial participants were randomised to a 2-week course of dexamethasone or placebo in addition to receiving standard care (which could include surgery). The primary outcome measure of the trial is the modified Rankin Scale at 6 months. This pilot recruited ahead of target; 100 patients were recruited within nine months of commencement. 47% of screened patients consented to recruitment. The primary outcome measure was collected in 98% of patients. No safety concerns were raised by the independent data monitoring and ethics committee and only five patients were withdrawn from drug treatment. Pilot trial data can inform on the design and resource provision for substantive trials. This internal pilot was successful in determining recruitment feasibility. Excellent follow-up rates were achieved and exploratory outcome measures were added to increase the scientific value of the trial.


Original languageEnglish
Article number5885
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2019