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
Patients experiencing pain and swelling in their limbs following an accident will often have X-Rays in the Emergency Department. The doctor will look at these X-rays for signs of a fracture and then treat the patient accordingly. The X-Ray specialist elsewhere in the hospital will also look at these X-Rays and write a report. However, this report may not be available until after the patient and doctor have both gone home. If the X-Ray specialist’s report identifies a fracture, other staff working in the Emergency Department will need to go back and double-check the patient’s records to make sure the fracture was picked up by the treating doctor and that the patient was appropriately treated.
The procedure for checking X-Ray reports and checking that the patient was appropriately treated is laborious and time consuming. Moreover, due to resourcing problems, it is often done days after the patient’s initial presentation to the Emergency Department. A more timely and efficient process is required.