Results for Townsville University Hospital


Examining the effectiveness of Brown snake antivenom

The amount of Brown snake antivenom required to properly neutralise the venom delivered in a brown snake bite remains controversial. Using appropriate amounts reduces the risks and side effects of antivenom, while optimising its positive effects. One of the major clinical symptoms of Brown snake bite is massive bleeding. We aim to use a novel method for analysis of blood clotting (the ROTEM analyser) to study the effects of Brown snake venom on blood clotting and how different doses of antivenom affect this. This information may enable us to develop a simple point of care test to determine the optimal dose of antivenom to be given, reducing the amount of antivenom needed, the length of hospital stay, and therefore overall cost of snake bite management.

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Is Helicopter Transport Safe for Divers with Decompression Illness?

Diving is a common recreational activity for both Queenslanders and tourists alike. It forms the basis for whole tourism industries based on the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately diving does have risks which includes decompression illness (DCI). DCI involves formation of gas bubbles and can be fatal. Treatment usually involves re-pressurisation in special chambers designed to ‘squash’ the bubbles and reduce symptoms. Affected divers can only receive this treatment in certain hospitals. They may need to be transported urgently by helicopters from the reef to hospital. However, some people believe that the vibration of the helicopter may increase the number of bubbles and make symptoms worse before divers can access treatment. This study will determine if this is true – will bubbles actually be increased by the vibration associated with helicopter flight? If vibration does increase bubble formation, then in the future alternative strategies for transporting DCI patients can be implemented to reduce the risk to these patients. To ensure safety the vibration record of helicopter flight will be recorded and reproduced using a vibrating basket model. Healthy volunteers accompanying divers in the recompression chamber will be assessed with a special ultrasound to detect bubbles following the ‘dive’ and then placed in the vibrating basket. The number of bubbles present after this will be measured again. This study will help ensure safe transport of injured divers not just in Queensland but internationally. This global importance is represented in the research team, which includes members from both Canada and other Australian states, which are collaborating in a Queensland based study.

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Tamsulosin for the treatment of Distal Ureteric Calculi: A Double Blinded, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized, Multi-Centre trial

Ureteric colic (or Kidney stones) is a significant public health concern within Australia, affecting as many as 5-15% of adults. As a result, a significant number of Australians experience significant pain, hospital and outpatient visits, and the potential for more significant complications such as infection, kidney damage and the need for surgical treatments.

Although several methods of medical treatments to improve care of such patients have been studied overseas, some of which appear promising, the practice of “medical expulsive therapy” for ureteric colic is not widely practiced in Australia. One such medication is Tamsulosin, which seems to have an effect on the ureter (tube from kidney to bladder) and helps stones pass. It is already in use for other urological conditions already in Australia, and studies overseas seem to show benefit for patients with Ureteric colic.

Within Queensland Health there is substantial variation with regard to access to specialist urologist services. Benefits of medical therapies for ureteric colic may be even greater in geographically isolated areas without full time urology services.

Patients who present to the participating emergency departments with Ureteric calculi, that fit the inclusion criteria will be randomly allocated to either the study medication (Tamsulosin 0.4mg daily) or placebo. The patients will then be closely monitored for four weeks, to determine if the stones pass spontaneously, or if any complications occur. At four weeks the study will be complete, patients who are yet to have passed the stone, would be referred to Urology for consideration of a procedure.

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Improving jellyfish sting treatment

EMF funding is improving emergency care for the elderly

Trauma: better treatment for severe bleeding

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