Critical Care Complex marks research trial milestone

The Critical Care team at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) have celebrated recruiting over 250 patients onto a clinical trial looking at the optimum level of oxygen to give to critically ill patients.

The UK-ROX trial has been running at NNUH since September 2021 and the team have recruited 260 patients from the Critical Care Complex to look at comparisons in using the usual level of oxygen with conservative oxygen therapy.

The concentration of oxygen given is adjusted according to how much oxygen can be detected in a patient’s blood, known as oxygen saturation. Some studies have shown that in unwell hospitalised patients having a lower oxygen saturation may be beneficial. The majority of patients usually require oxygen saturation levels between 94-98%, however, this trial is comparing this with giving critically ill patients enough oxygen to keep their oxygen saturation levels between 88-92%.

Critical Care Research Nurse Helen Bell explains: “We know that high levels of oxygen can be damaging to the lungs and other vital organs. This trial is trying to find out whether using a more conservative oxygen saturation target might lead to better outcomes for critically ill patients when compared to the existing approach currently used in the NHS.”

Most intensive care units across the country are taking part in this large-scale randomised trial which is continuing until July 2024. The NNUH team is celebrating already exceeding its target for the number of participants it intended to recruit to the trial.

The team, led by Research Senior Sister Georgina Randell and Principal Investigators Dr Steve Hutchinson and Dr Manu Naik, together with CCC Research Lead Dr Simon Fletcher, Research Sister Deirdre Fottrell-Gould and CCC Matron Keri Betts, celebrated the achievement today (13 December) with cupcakes for everyone involved.

Helen added: “It’s extra work for the nurses because they have to constantly monitor patients to ensure the oxygen saturation levels fall in the range required for the trial. We wanted to say ‘thank you’ to all the staff in the Critical Care Complex team and the central research administrative staff, who play a vital role in supporting this important research. We’ve been the top recruiting intensive care unit across all trials in the CRN East of England for the last two years. Today was a lovely way to celebrate our success, particularly in this research trial.”

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