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Queen's Leads One Of The Biggest Trials In Respiratory Failure

Researchers at Queen's University Belfast are taking part in one of the biggest clinical trials in the world which could save thousands of lives in Intensive Care Units.

Queen's researchers and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust are co-leading the landmark trial involving 1,120 critically ill patients in 40 different hospital sites across the UK over the next four years.

Recruited patients will test the effectiveness of a new procedure designed to alleviate the pressure put on the lungs by mechanical ventilation.

Researchers believe the new procedure – which removes carbon dioxide from the blood in a process similar to kidney dialysis – can significantly improve survival rates in people suffering respiratory failure but only a full trial will provide evidence.
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Professor Danny McAuley, Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine at Queen's said: "A mechanical ventilator acts like bellows as air is forced into the lungs under pressure. If the pressure is too high, this can cause lasting damage.

"These new devices, however, have been designed to help remove carbon dioxide from the patient's blood – in a process quite similar to kidney dialysis – which is one of the main functions of the lungs. By temporarily removing this function from the lungs, it means lungs do not have to work quite as hard, so a gentler ventilation should be sufficient.

"Recent National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines have encouraged clinicians in the UK to recruit patients to our trial which is a great endorsement of what we are doing here at Queen's."

The £2.1million research project, including the pilot trial, is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme.

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