This study will collect information from the records of 3000 children from 30 hospitals presenting after a head injury in 2016 and will interview staff to look at different factors influencing the care provided. APHIRST-Gap is expected to provided crucial information on scan rates and inform strategies, including national guideline development to standardise and improve the care of children with head injury across Australia and New Zealand.
Head injury is a common reason children present to Emergency Departments in Australia and New Zealand. While most are minor the important issue for emergency clinicians is to determine whether a particular child is at risk of a serious head injury such as a bleed on the brain. A computerised tomography(CT) scan is the investigation of choice to look for these injuries. Its use is not without risks though, including those of sedation, and radiation induced cancer.
Several “rules” have been designed to guide doctors in the decision between risk of injury and risk of scan. The recently published Australasian APHIRST study examined three of these rules in our context. It found that all three rules performed well, clinicians made good judgements on who to scan, and the overall rate of CT scan use was low(10%). APHIRST was limited to 10 large metropolitan, and predominately children specific hospitals. Most children in Australia are not seen in these hospitals. Further research is required to determine whether there is a large variation in scan use between different hospitals and how best to apply these findings to a broader range of hospitals.
This trial is being run by the PREDICT network and the Principal Investigator is A/Prof Franz Babl.READ MORE
Most children with asthma presenting to an emergency department (ED) are managed with inhaled medications and oral steroids. Infrequently, some children are very unwell, and require assistance with their breathing, or intravenous medication Currently, there is minimal information to guide clinicians on which treatment to choose for severe acute asthma. All have side-effects, and we do not know which is most effective. Studies from the UK and Australasia demonstrate significant variation in practice, although Australasian data is nearly 10 years out of date. When comparing treatments, it is important to determine whether or not they can reduce the risk of severe complications, or whether they make a difference in important treatment outcomes.
This project will allow us to determine current management practices for children with severe acute asthma and/or wheeze; how common severe acute asthma is and also how frequently complications of severe asthma occur; and understand where differences in therapy exist between states/regions. We will be looking at sites across Australia and New Zealand. Once complete, this project will provide important data to allow us to design future research to establish the best treatments for severe asthma.
EMF is funding the Queensland sites taking part in this Australasian trial. This study is being run by the PREDICT network. The Chief Investigatory is A/Prof Simon Craig. The study will include 18,000 children aged 1 – 18 years treated for asthma in the ED.READ MORE
This research aimed to investigate the impact of opening a new ED within a health service district. The study involved linking ambulance, emergency department (ED) and hospital data from three EDs to better understand the patient journey and patient and health service outcomes when a new ED opens within the health service. The project aims were to:
1. Describe and compare patient and health service outcomes at three EDs before and 12 months after Robina ED opening;
2. Describe and compare outcomes for patients arriving to ED by ambulance based on whether off stretcher time is/is not delayed by >30 mins.
Convulsive status epilepticus (CSE) occurs when seizures do not stop spontaneously. It is the most severe form of epilepsy, and can result in long-term disabilities and rarely death. It can affect both adults and children, although the causes and outcomes are different in these groups of patients. Treatments of patients with CSE are largely based on expert opinion rather than strong evidence, due to the difficult nature of conducting quality trials in patients with this relatively infrequent condition in the emergency setting. We will determine the incidence and causes of CSE in children in Australia and New Zealand and collect information on the type of seizure, duration, treatment and outcome to determine ways to improve the management of children with CSE.READ MORE
Current guidelines for the assessment of patients with chest pain mandate that patients remain in hospital for a minimum of 6 to 12 hours, with many staying overnight. We have developed an accelerated assessment protocol for patients who present to Emergency Departments with chest pain; the Brisbane Accelerated CHest pain protocol (BACH protocol). This strategy should support the accelerated assessment of more than 70% of all ED patients presenting with possible symptoms of a heart attack.
Research into the effectiveness of the BACH protocol was completed in 2014, and showed it to be safe and effective. As such, it was immediately recommended as usual care at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH). However, a major concern for health care services is that clinical practice may not change despite quality research identifying ways to improve patient care. Studies show that it takes around 17 years from an idea to progress from the research stage to a change in clinical practice. The current proposal is to assess whether the BACH protocol has been successfully translated into clinical care. That is, has clinical practice really changed as a result of the investment in research? If we are able to show that clinicians use this safe strategy routinely, it will support efforts to more widely use this protocol in Emergency Departments across Australia, potentially saving significant health care costs.
Acutely agitated patients are commonly seen in the emergency department (ED). As these patients may cause harm to themselves or others, a large proportion need to be managed with injectable sedative medications such as benzodiazepines (eg midazlolam) and/ or antipsychotics (e.g droperidol).
Unfortunately, these medications may precipitate life threatening events (e.g hypoventilation). Safety data related to the use of these medications for the management of acute agitation in the ED setting are scant. Acute agitation in the ED setting is usually caused by mental health issues or substance abuse, again little is known about which sedative medications are best suited for different groups of acutely agitated patients.
The aim of this study is to determine the nature and incidence of adverse events associated with parenteral sedation medication administered to acutely agitated patients in the ED and to determine the risk factors for these adverse events. It is a multicentre national observational study, aiming to recruit 2000 patients over the age of 18, over a 2 year period. It is hoped that the evidence this study generates will define the risk of AE in this population and may guide clinicians in future treatment choices in sedating this challenging group of patients, hopefully reducing future AE.READ MORE
Injury is the leading cause of death and the second highest contributor to the burden of disease of Australians aged between 12 and 24 years. One of the contributing factors to trauma death is the inability for the injured patient to clot properly. Studies have shown that in approximately 10-50% of trauma patients the blood does not clot properly, with patients exhibiting abnormal clotting up to 4 times more likely to die from their injuries.
This study aims to estimate the proportion of injured patients with clotting problems at the time paramedics treat them. The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) High Acuity Response Unit (HARU) currently services the Greater Brisbane area and will commence operations on the Gold Coast Area in the latter half of 2015. The HARU provides advanced trauma interventions including blood transfusions and ultrasound scans to detect internal bleeding. In 2014 the HARU treated approximately 370 moderate to severely injured patients in the Greater Brisbane area.
In this study, HARU team members will take blood from patients during their treatment in the field. The blood will then be analysed to see if there are any clotting abnormalities. They will also perform a quick screening blood test in the field to see if this screening test corresponds to the laboratory analysis.
Identifying which patients are not clotting properly prior to hospital arrival may pave the way for life saving treatment to be started on the way to hospital, and for rapid intervention on arrival at hospital.
Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is a common emergency with a substantial mortality rate. Bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal system is caused by ulcers, stomach inflammation and oesophageal varices and carries a fatality rate of up to 10%. Lower GI bleeding has a variety of causes and a case fatality of about 15%. Between 10% and 25% of patients will have a repeat bleed after their first episode, and these people are four times more likely to die than people without repeated bleeding.
The clotting of blood helps to stem bleeding and blood clot break down may play an important role in GI bleeding and re-bleeding. Tranexamic acid (TXA) is a drug used to reduce clot breakdown. It has been shown to reduce the probability of requiring a blood transfusion by about a third in surgical patients, without causing serious side effects from promoting clotting. This high quality randomised controlled trial will investigate the effectiveness and safety of TXA in GI bleeding.READ MORE
Convulsive Status Epilepticus (CSE) is the most common childhood neurological emergency, sometimes resulting in death or serious disability. CSE is managed with anticonvulsant medications in a step-wise approach until seizures stop. While some management strategies for CSE are well supported by evidence (e.g. initial administration of benzodiazepines), subsequent strategies are based on expert consensus and not evidence.
Phenytoin, the traditional second line agent for CSE has a high failure rate, causes adverse events and must be administered slowly. Levetiracetam, a newer anticonvulsant, has a favourable adverse events profile, can be administered quickly and has good efficacy for various seizure types.
This research project proposes to undertake a randomised controlled trial of the second line anticonvulsants phenytoin and levetiracetam for CSE in children. This multi-centre study will be a world first and have a profound impact on the management of CSE in children in New Zealand, Australia and worldwide, in either confirming the current second line medication used or recommending a newer second line medication.READ MORE
Subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) is a type of stroke, which affects about 10 in 100,000 Queenslanders. A patient with SAH usually complains of a sudden onset severe headache. About one in three of these patients die and another one in three survive with a disability. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential.
Diagnosis involves a Computed Tomography (CT) scan and a spinal puncture to look for blood in the spinal fluid surrounding the brain. However, these tests are not 100 per cent accurate. However, doctors and patients are concerned about complications from these tests. These include radiation from CT scans and discomfort from spinal punctures. As a result of these concerns, there is variability in what tests are ordered and why they are ordered. An understanding of this variability can assist doctors to develop guidelines and streamline the diagnosis of patients with suspected SAH.
This project consists of a series of three studies including a one month snapshot of patients presenting to the Emergency Department (ED) across Queensland complaining of a headache, a series of one-on-one interviews with a group of ED specialists at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital and an examination of the accuracy of tests to look for blood in the spinal fluid obtained from a spinal puncture. The results of these studies will help plan the diagnostic workup of patients with suspected SAH.READ MORE
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