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Open Access

Novel patient engagement and recruitment strategies for an RCY of two NHS treatments for ankle osteoarthritis - total ankle replacement versus arthrodesis - the TARVA trial

  • Andy Goldberg1,
  • Claire Thomson2,
  • Deirdre Brooking3,
  • Elin Rees2,
  • Marion Cumbers5,
  • Michelle Tetlow2,
  • Simon Skene2 and
  • Suzie Cro4
Trials201516(Suppl 2):O94

Published: 16 November 2015

The Erratum to this article has been published in Trials 2016 17:109


Patient EngagementEngagement TechniqueTrial TeamNetworking ToolInformation Brochure

TARVA is an NIHR HTA funded portfolio randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing total ankle replacement (TAR) and arthrodesis (fusion) surgery in NHS patients aged 50-85 with end-stage ankle arthritis. 328 patients will be randomly allocated to TAR or arthrodesis on an equal basis.

Clinician and patient treatment equipoise is critical to recruit surgeons and patients successfully.

The TARVA Trial team has developed novel surgeon and patient engagement techniques involving technology and multi-media tools to achieve our aims. Examples include an award-winning video, a white-labelled patient information brochure, professional newsletters and blogs, and a particular focus on the use of social networking tools to engage both investigators and patients.

The impartial trial information video featuring consultant foot and ankle surgeons and patients who have undergone TAR or fusion surgery can be accessed through the trial website (

The pilot phase began with the randomisation of the first patient in March 2015. An overview of our techniques alongside recruitment data accumulated until November will be presented at the ICTM conference.


Authors’ Affiliations

UCL Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Sciences, London, UK
Comprehensive Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, London, UK
Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust, Middlesex, UK
MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, London, UK
Patient & Public Representative on TARVA Trial Management Group, London, UK


© Goldberg et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


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