Core Outcomes in Ventilation Trials (COVenT): protocol for a core outcome set using a Delphi survey with a nested randomised trial and observational cohort study

Among clinical trials of interventions that aim to modify time spent on mechanical ventilation for critically ill patients there is considerable inconsistency in chosen outcomes and how they are measured. The Core Outcomes in Ventilation Trials (COVenT) study aims to develop a set of core outcomes for use in future ventilation trials in mechanically ventilated adults and children.

We will use a mixed methods approach that incorporates a randomised trial nested within a Delphi study and a consensus meeting. Additionally, we will conduct an observational cohort study to evaluate uptake of the core outcome set in published studies at 5 and 10 years following core outcome set publication. The three-round online Delphi study will use a list of outcomes that have been reported previously in a review of ventilation trials. The Delphi panel will include a range of stakeholder groups including patient support groups. The panel will be randomised to one of three feedback methods to assess the impact of the feedback mechanism on subsequent ranking of outcomes. A final consensus meeting will be held with stakeholder representatives to review outcomes.

The COVenT study aims to develop a core outcome set for ventilation trials in critical care, explore the best Delphi feedback mechanism for achieving consensus and determine if participation increases use of the core outcome set in the long term.


Bronagh Blackwood, Suzanne Ringrow, Mike Clarke, John Marshall, Louise Rose, Paula Williamson & Danny McAuley


Journal: Trials
Volume: 16
Pages: -
Year: 2015

Further Study Information

Current Stage: Completed
Funding source(s): We would like to acknowledge and thank the Department for Education and Learning (Northern Ireland) for funding a Research Studentship for SR to undertake this PhD research study. The authors also thank Melanie Harper-Jones for contributing to the design of the online system for Delphi completion.

Health Area

Disease Category: Lungs & airways

Disease Name: Mechanical ventilation

Target Population

Age Range: Unknown

Sex: Either

Nature of Intervention:

Stakeholders Involved

Study Type

- COS methods research


After round 1, participants will be randomised to one of three groups that will determine the method of feedback they will receive. Participants will be stratified by type of stakeholder to ensure equal representation in each study group.