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Neonatal Babies Helping Birmingham Women’s Researchers

  • June 2nd, 2015
  • Author: Maria Mcleod
  • Category: News

Clinical Research at Birmingham Women’s has increased significantly in the last few years and studies are taking place in every specialty area to help develop new and better ways of caring for patients. Although the Women’s is a small hospital, we are actually the 4th highest research recruiting specialist trusts in the UK for clinical trials.

Our team of neonatal research nurses working alongside the neonatal team of nurses, doctors and allied health professionals are both active and enthusiastic about research bringing about new and exciting changes in Neo-natal care along with advances in treatment that can only be a good thing for the babies and families.We could not do this without the support of our patients and in the case of our Neonatal research, the support of the parents and their babies.

Currently on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, we have a research first as one of our tiny premature babies is taking part in no less than four research trials.

Karisha Chanda was born at just 29 weeks, weighing a mere 450grams (1lb). Now 29 days old and weighing 723grams (1lb 9oz), she will spend some more weeks on the unit as we help her to put on weight and become well enough to go home. During her time with us, her family have kindly agreed to let her take part in some very important research trials.
These include two randomised controlled and two observational trials.

SiFT is a randomised controlled milk feeding trial which compares the effects of fast and slow increases in feeding volumes. This trial will help to look at how long it takes for babies to reach full milk feeds whilst in hospital.

PlaNeT –2 is a randomised controlled trial comparing different thresholds for platelet transfusions in premature babies. The aim of this trial is to see if platelets do not need to be given so often in babies who have lower than normal platelets reducing the need for blood products and painful drips for babies.

REDEXAM is an observational trial which uses urine analysis to screen for Retinopathy of Prematurity. This is a condition which affects the eyes in premature babies. The urine screening may identify this condition without the baby having to undergo repeated painful eye examinations

Pine is also an observational study which analyses urine to help identify a baby’s risk of developing a serious condition called Necrotising Entrocolitis (NEC). The trial tests a protein in the urine and may enable us to identify babies with this condition earlier and therefore reduce the risk of serious complications.

Many of the babies on the Neonatal Unit take part in these trials which in most cases do not impact on their day to day care.

We know that having a child in hospital is a stressful time for parents. Having a premature and sick child can be even more of a strain; with this is mind it is essential that the medical team work in partnership with patient’s families. It is amazing to see people engaging with research and wanting to improve care for babies in the future even though there may be no benefit for their own baby. Taking part in research trials is totally voluntary and we try to empower parents by giving them as much information as they need to make the right decision for them and their baby.

Neonatal Research Nurse, Rachel Jackson is the Nurse Lead for all of these trials and she is responsible for recruiting parents and their babies onto the trials, she explained, “We are dependent on the co-operation of parents to enable us to conduct these clinical trials and so we are incredibly grateful to Mr and Mrs Chanda for allowing their daughter to take part in four trials. We will be awarding her with a certificate on her cot this week as our way of saying thank you.

All the trials have the potential to identify both serious and in some cases life threatening conditions, so the more parents that can support us, the more babies we can help both in our hospital as well as across the country and internationally.”
Parents of Karisha, Mr and Mrs Chanda commented, “Being on these trials will be of benefit to herself and hospital research and she will be able to help babies in the future. The fact that she was born three months early is amazing. We named her Karisha as it means ‘miracle’.”

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Written By: Communications Team

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