We propose to conduct a multi-centre blinded cluster cross over randomised clinical trial (RCT) of plasmalyte (PL), a balanced salt solution versus normal saline (NS) in patients admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus. DKA results in elevated acid levels in the blood leading to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
ICU admission rates for patients with DKA in Australia has risen annually. In 2019 and 2020, there were 2751 and 2812 admissions to ICUs respectively. Almost all patients present through the Emergency Departments and in regional hospitals, they are often admitted to the ICU.
NS is often used as the first line fluid for dehydration, but NS use frequently results in persistent acidosis. We have shown in a pilot trial, conducted in 7 Queensland regional Emergency departments and ICUs, that the use of a balanced salt solution such as PL resulted in a more rapid resolution of acidosis with trends to shorter length of ICU and hospital stay as compared to NS. The efficacy of PL in DKA needs evaluation in a large clinical trial.
We plan to study 480 patients from Australia of whom a third will be expected to be enrolled in Queensland. Patients will be randomised to receive either NS or PL and the primary end point is hospital length of stay. This proposed trial will answer a fundamental clinical question and will inform policy and practice in Australia and New Zealand and around the world.READ MORE
Peripheral intravenous catheters (PIVCs) are small plastic tubes placed in a patient’s vein for the delivery of intravenous fluid and medications. In the emergency department, many patients present with difficult intravenous access and require multiple insertion attempts to successfully place a PIVC. This can be time consuming for clinical staff, costly for hospitals, and painful for patients. Correct device selection is a key strategy to ensure first-time insertion success.
This study will recruit 406 adult participants at two emergency departments in order to test if novel PIVCs with a retractable guidewire (AccuCath Ace™ Intravascular Cannula, BD), compared to standard care, are effective at increasing first-time insertion success for patients with difficult vascular access.READ MORE
Currently in Australia, children with suspected neck injuries undergo neck scans such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However these scans may carry risks from radiation exposure, and are often associated with discomfort and distress for young patients and the need for sedation.
Considerable emergency department time and costs are also associated with these scans and it is unclear when it can be safely avoided. Rules and tools can help doctors decide when scans are necessary. The SONIC study aims to look at whether existing rules for adults are also appropriate for use in children, and to develop and test a specific tool to help doctors decide which children need a neck x-ray or scan. The study will involve a large number of children across multiple hospitals in Australia and New Zealand. The research is expected to help researchers learn more about looking after children with neck injuries and hopefully allow us to safely limit the number of scans that need to be done.
The SONIC study is also supported by the Commonwealth of Australia through a MRFF Grant ID1199748 administered by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.READ MORE
COVID-19 is an infectious respiratory pathogen with significant capacity to spread within the healthcare environment which has been highlighted by the number of healthcare staff internationally that have died or suffered significant morbidity through transmission while caring for patients. Guidelines recommend distancing between healthcare staff and patients and the need for personal protective equipment (PPE).
The majority of hospitalised and unwell patients with COVID-19 will receive some type of respiratory support, however very little is known in regard to how differing devices mitigate or exacerbate spread of respiratory droplets during coughing. Inadequate information has led to restrictions on certain types of therapies being offered to patients at risk for COVID-19. This study aims to clarify the extent of environmental contamination from droplet spread during coughing and the effect of different types of standard respiratory support on this.READ MORE
In this project we will evaluate a new pathway for assessing chest pain in the emergency department. The pathway is designed to reduce the costs of managing patients at low-risk of heart attack without compromising patient safety. The cost savings are estimated to be around $95 million if implemented Australia-wide, with the bulk of the cost reduction being through decreased length of stay in the emergency department.
The new pathway will be implemented at three Queensland hospitals. Data collected before and after the implementation of this pathway will be used to assess 1) whether it results in a shorter length of stay in hospital, 2) whether it is safe for identifying heart attack, and 3) whether it reduces healthcare utilisation and healthcare costs.
Over 450,000 patients present to an Australian emergency department with chest pain every year. The current approach to rule out heart attack for these patients is lengthy and costly, taking up to 26 hours at a cost of $2,127 per patient.
Procedural sedation in emergency departments is performed on a daily basis. The current management plan arguably inflicts unnecessary pain and distress on children. This open label, multicenter, randomised control trial is investigating whether paediatric procedural sedation can be achieved with just one needle. The research team’s focus is the on determining the best outcome for the child in procedural sedation, prioritising psychological as well as medical consequences.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
The question of fluid volume in resuscitation has been identified as the top priority in sepsis research by emergency physicians in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Guidelines and sepsis pathways recommend an initial intravenous (IV) fluid bolus of 30ml/kg isotonic crystalloid for patients with sepsis and hypotension. However, there is a lack of evidence from clinical trials to support this strategy. Both observational data as well as randomised studies suggest there may be harm associated with injudicious use of fluids in sepsis. Since there is equipoise regarding a more liberal or restricted fluid volume resuscitation as first line treatment for sepsis-related hypotension, we conducted the pilot multicentre REstricted Fluid REsuscitation in Sepsis-associated Hypotension (REFRESH) trial comparing a restricted fluid protocol with early initiation of vasopressor support against standard guideline care.
The data from REFRESH will inform feasibility of a large, multicentre phase III study. However, further ground work is essential for the optimal design of a Phase III trial that will provide valuable information on feasibility (road test recruitment rate and screening processes) as well as refinement of the protocol (sample size estimation, processes of care, prevalence of the population of interest, real world clinical practice regarding fluid use).
In this ARISE Fluids study, we aim to provide more insight into current practice by conducting a bi-national multi-site prospective observational study of fluid administration in (suspected) sepsis and hypotension in the Emergency Departments of Australia and New Zealand hospitals. Sites have been selected on the basis of having expressed interest in participating in a phase III trial.READ MORE
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 provide 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 presents risks though, including the risk of sedation, and radiation induced cancer.
Several “rules” have been designed to guide doctors in the decision, by weighing up the risk of injury with the risks associated with the scan. The published Australasian APHIRST study examined three of these rules. It found that all three rules performed well, clinicians made sound judgements, and the overall rate of CT scan use was low (10%). APHIRST was limited to 10 large metropolitan, and predominately paediatric 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 Prof Franz Babl.READ MORE
After whiplash injury, half of patients never fully recover. The human and economic cost is enormous, and current mainstay treatments are ineffective. Most recovery, if it occurs, takes place in the first two to three months. This early time period offers a ‘window of opportunity’ to pro-actively intervene and prevent the chronic pain. The Emergency Department (ED) is ideally placed to provide very early intervention. We have shown that upregulation of pain in the central nervous system occurs soon after whiplash injury and predicts poor recovery. We aim to target these central nervous system processes with pregabalin in conjunction with evidence based physiotherapy advice/exercise in the ED. The results have potential to fundamentally change the treatment of acute whiplash injury.READ MORE