The effect of the publication of a major clinical trial in a high impact journal on clinical practise: the ORACLE Trial experience


*Correspondence: S. Kenyon, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building, Leicester Royal Infirmary, P.O. Box 65, Leicester LE2 7LX, UK.


Objective To estimate the short term effect of the publication of a major clinical trial on clinical practise.

Design Questionnaire survey of clinical practise.

Setting UK.

Population All maternity units in the UK.

Method A self-administered questionnaire completed by lead consultants on delivery suite of maternity units.

Main outcome measures Changes in antibiotic prescription.

Results Within six months of publication, approximately 50% of maternity units had changed their guidelines for the care of women with preterm prelabour rupture of the fetal membranes.

Conclusion Publication of a major clinical trial does impact on clinical practise but the impact is heterogeneous in terms of time and consistency.