Abdominal pain is one of the commonest reasons for children to attend the emergency department (ED), and acute appendicitis is the most common cause of abdominal pain requiring surgery. There are various clinical prediction scores that have been developed to help doctors diagnose appendicitis; however, most scores were developed overseas and are not routinely used in Australian EDs. The aim of this project is to review different published scores and compare them with overall clinician impression in diagnosing acute appendicitis in children presenting to ED.
The project will include all patients presenting to the ED with abdominal pain that are having investigations for possible appendicitis. The treating doctor will be asked to complete a case report form detailing patient history, examination findings, investigation results, as well as their overall clinical impression of the patient’s likelihood of having the diagnosis of appendicitis. Data collected will be analysed by project researchers to determine which scores are the most helpful for clinicians in diagnosing acute appendicitis in children presenting to Australian EDs, with the expectation that this will improve future care provided to children with abdominal pain.READ MORE
Acute severe behavioural disturbance (ASBD) is an emergency situation where a patient experiences severe agitation or aggression. These individuals commonly present to the emergency department (ED) for treatment. Medications are often provided to assist the person to feel calmer. In most instances, oral medications are used. When the patient is extremely agitated, an intramuscular (IM) injection will be given.
In individuals less than 18 years, there is minimal available evidence to guide doctors about which medications work best. It is also not known how well these medications are tolerated by these young people. Therefore, the PREDICT (Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative) network is running two trials across a number of Australian EDs to create evidence to be used to guide the treatment for these young people.
The first study (PEAChY-O) compares two oral medications - olanzapine and diazepam - to determine which medication works better. The second study (PEAChY-M) compares two IM medications – olanzapine and droperidol. These medications were chosen because they are used as standard of care in Australian EDs and are recommended on current Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs). These are important studies because they will be the first trials to compare any medications head-to-head in a randomised trial across either the oral or IM routes.
Once the results are available, they will be used to guide future clinical practice including influencing the recommendations made in Australian guidelines, ensuring that these young people receive evidence-based treatments.
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.READ MORE
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