Results for Lady Cilento Children's Hospital


Implementation of Nasal High Flow: A Remote Context

In this study, the clinician-researchers are exploring whether nasal high flow (NHF) therapy can be safely and effectively used to improve health outcomes for infants with bronchiolitis in isolated remote communities, in particular for remote Indigenous Australians who have a higher incidence rate of bronchiolitis than non-Indigenous Australians. There is a desire by clinicians to implement NHF in remote areas, but this should undergo similar scientific scrutiny as previous published data.

NHF is a respiratory support system that provides support for people with respiratory conditions and is applied by high flow oxygen through nasal prongs. The therapy can avoid an escalation of care during hospitalisation. The safety of NHF has been widely studied in tertiary areas and regional hospitals, however, there is a lack of evidence to support safe use in remote settings.

In this study, the researchers are employing a two-phased approach: Firstly, an expert working party establishing agreed safe clinical boundaries for the NHF implementation and utilising expert viewpoints for implementation when managing infants with bronchiolitis. Secondly, a comparison of the outcomes before and after implementation to observe a reduction in escalation of care leading to reduced transfers. A community engagement process, with the focus to keep community members in their country/home environment, will be established to measure psychological, social-emotional and economic benefits of NHF.

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Paediatric Reduction in Emergency Cannula Accidental REmoval Trial – PRECARE trial

The aim of this study is to evaluate securement devices for peripheral intravenous catheters (PIVC) in the paediatric ED to determine which method is most effective for reducing PIVC failure, associated costs, acceptability and patient distress.

Infants and children depend on PIVCs for the provision of medical therapy within the emergency department and during hospitalisation. However, PIVC insertion and management is challenging and more than 25% of devices fail. PIVC failure is costly for both the patient and healthcare organisation. Failure may require the child to undergo traumatic reinsertion procedures, delay important medical treatment and prolong length of hospital stay. One way to reduce PIVC failure is with effective PIVC dressing and securement, by ensuring correct catheter position in the vein.

Our trial aims to test if new advances in catheter securement, medical grade superglue (Histoacryl) and an integrated dressing securement product (SorbaView SHIELD), are effective at preventing cannula failure and complications in paediatric patients. Using a three arm, randomised controlled trial, this study will recruit 460 paediatric patients at two regional emergency departments (Logan Hospital, Ipswich Hospital). Children will be randomised to receive PIVC securement by i) standard care, ii) advanced dressing or iii) medical grade superglue and advanced dressing. The main outcome of this trial is PIVC failure, with other important questions surrounding cost effectiveness and patient comfort also to be explored.

It is important for effective, improved cannula security to be explored as this is frequently a first line device choice for treatment, being highly effective in rapid treatment situations. A result in improved treatment delivery will benefit with cost savings in not only product but clinician time spent re-inserting, and a reduction in unnecessary, painful procedures for children.

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Early resuscitation in paediatric sepsis

Sepsis is a leading cause of death and disability in children, globally accounting for more than one million childhood deaths per year. Recommended sepsis treatment currently consists of intravenous antibiotics and aggressive fluid boluses followed by inotropes and consideration for intravenous steroids. However, the evidence for interventions other than antibiotics is limited and aggressive fluid administration may be associated with harm. Therefore, fluid-sparing algorithms using early inotropes to treat shock have been proposed. Another strategy to hasten shock resolution consists in intravenous steroids, alone or in combination with thiamine and vitamin C, postulated to support metabolic dysfunction in recent studies.

In this project, the research team is conducting a randomised controlled pilot trial in children presenting with septic shock. They are assessing the feasibility of a fluid-sparing algorithm using early inotropes and early intravenous administration of Vitamin C, Thiamine and Hydrocortisone and the impact on survival free of organ dysfunction.

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Fibrinogen Early In Severe Trauma in children studY (FEISTY Junior)

Traumatic injuries in children are a leading cause of death and disability in Australia. In high income countries, 40% of child deaths are because of traumatic injuries. Fibrinogen is one of the key clotting factors that need to be replaced in severe traumatic bleeding.

Currently, fibrinogen is replaced using cryoprecipitate; a blood product obtained from healthy volunteer donors. This is a precious resource that is stored frozen in the blood bank; it can take a long time to administer and place significant strain on blood banks. Fibrinogen concentrate (FC) is an alternative product used to assist in blood clotting. It is a product that is derived from blood plasma but stored in powder form and can be reconstituted at the bedside and given quickly. The study will investigate whether it is quicker to administer FC than cryoprecipitate, which may reduce haemorrhage and improve outcomes.

This study will enrol 30 children from three major paediatric trauma centres in Queensland admitted with severe traumatic bleeding. Time to administration of fibrinogen replacement and the effect of fibrinogen levels will be measured.

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How are we treating severe childhood asthma in Australasia?

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.

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Is prednisolone an effective treatment for Bell’s Palsy in children?

Bell’s palsy or acute idiopathic lower motor neurone facial paralysis is characterised by sudden onset paralysis or weakness of the muscles to one side of the face controlled by the facial nerve. It is the third most common neurological reason for children to present acutely to hospital.

In adults, there is conclusive evidence from two major recent trials that a short course of prednisolone, a cheap, widely available and safe steroid, can significantly increase the number of Bell’s palsy patients who completely recover. While the medical problems associated with Bell’s palsy are similar, in children there is no good evidence that prednisolone is an effective treatment.

Many neurological conditions progress differently in children and treatment methods sometimes vary. Children may react differently to prednisolone and without paediatric evidence; treatment guidelines for children with Bell’s palsy remain absent or vague, with variable and overall low rates of steroid use in children by physicians.

The lack of evidence and clinical uncertainty in the treatment of Bell’s palsy in children warrants a definitive trial to determine the efficacy of prednisolone as a treatment for this condition in children. The aim of this study is to assess the utility of steroids in Bell’s palsy in children in a large multicentre randomised, placebo-controlled, trial. The trial will take place in at least 10 hospitals within Australia and New Zealand, involving more than 500 children.

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Kids THRIVE

When a child presents to an emergency department, or is admitted to the intensive care unit because of a life-threatening condition, they may need immediate treatment to support their breathing. In these circumstances a child is given medication to put them to sleep and the airway is secured with the insertion of a tube into the windpipe. This transition from spontaneous breathing when a child is awake to controlled respiration under anaesthetic via a breathing tube is called intubation. This procedure is technically challenging and is often associated with low oxygen levels in children.

New methods of intubation which reduce the risk of oxygen levels becoming low are continually developed and safely tested through clinical trials. The Trans-nasal Humidified Rapid Insufflation Ventilatory Exchange in children requiring emergency intubation (Kids THRIVE) is one of these clinical trials. In this study, we investigated a new approach to prevent a drop in oxygen levels during intubation using high flow oxygen delivery. We tested this method in children with healthy lungs undergoing anaesthesia for elective surgery and we found that we can maintain oxygen levels more than twice as long as using standard intubation methods. These findings would allow the operator in emergency settings more time and a safer condition to secure the airway in a sick child.

By comparing the current standard practice for intubating a child in an emergency situation, we aim to demonstrate that the THRIVE method will reduce the risk for low oxygen levels in the blood and increase the likelihood that the treating doctor is able to insert the breathing tube on the first attempt.

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Capacity Building Grant: The Townsville Hospital

The Townsville Hospital Emergency Department (ED) aimed to increase research capacity in the ED . The vision was to create a sustainable research culture within the ED, with a positive research profile and a clear point of contact making Townsville attractive for collaborative research and to establish a track record of research success and outputs ensuring the long-term future of ED research.

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A Prospective Observational Cohort Study of Paediatric Status Epilepticus in Emergency Departments of Australia and New Zealand. The Status Epilepticus Australasian Registry for Children (SEARCh).

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.

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The Breathe Easy Early Study: BEES Study.

Shortness of breath is one of the most common reasons for presentation to Australian Emergency Departments, with millions of presentations each year. A new patient, unable to speak properly because they cannot breathe present difficulties in immediate diagnosis and therefore treatment, to emergency doctors and nurses. Immediate management involves the application of oxygen via a face-mask in addition to drug therapy and investigations including x-rays and blood tests. If breathlessness gets worse, the patient may need invasive support for breathing; a process that involves more staff, expensive machines, and resultant considerable cost to the health care system. A simpler support device that provides non-invasive humidified high flow nasal cannula is one alternative to the provision of oxygen and is currently utilised safely in adult and paediatric patients. The “high flow” delivery of humidified oxygen and air provides moderate support, which reduces the work that the exhausted patient does while breathing in and to help splint the airways open. This support is a driving pressure, which is not present during simple mask oxygen therapy. If we treat patients early with high flow therapy rather than standard facemask, we may be able to relieve symptoms of breathlessness sooner and avoid worsening of breathing difficulties. Similar work has been completed on paediatric patients with positive results and we hope to mimic this in the adult population. If possible this would reduce health care costs and allow for earlier discharge from the emergency department and/or hospital by providing this early intervention of breathing support.

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research projects

Improving jellyfish sting treatment

EMF funding is improving emergency care for the elderly

Trauma: better treatment for severe bleeding

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