Norfolk hospital at forefront of coronavirus ventilator trial

Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital has 100 empty beds and is stressing they are very much o

Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital has 100 empty beds and is stressing they are very much open to patients Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

A Norfolk hospital is leading the way in a clinical trial to find alternatives to ventilators for the most critically ill coronavirus patients.

The James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston is one of six sites across the UK looking to compare standard care with non-invasive ways of helping patients to breathe.

The trial aims to reduce the need for treatment with a ventilator while comparing the outcomes for other treatment methods including masks driven by oxygen, and high-flow oxygen through the nose.

All three methods are used to treat Covid-19 patients but it is unclear which is the most effective.

MORE: Woman’s heartbreak at not being able to see partner in final daysThe trial comes as the UK faces a shortage of both equipment and trained staff to operate ventilators.

Taking part means the hospital trust will receive additional non-invasive machines, increasing treatment capacity.

Patients who choose to take part will be randomly allocated by computer to either receive standard care or one of the non-invasive treatments.

Dr Venkat Mahadevan, a JPUH consultant leading the trial, said: “The respiratory and critical care teams at the JPUH have considerable experience with non-invasive ventilation treatments.

“We know that these therapies can be highly effective in the right patient and in the right settings.

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“Hence, I am delighted that we are able to offer these treatments, in a trial setting, for our critically ill patients with Covid-19.

“This trial will be a tremendous boost to find effective, alternative ways to treat patients without the use of a conventional ventilator machine.”

MORE: Uplifting video shows entire hospital applaud for Covid-19 patient with all clearJamie-Louise Raven, JPUH research midwife, and Christian Hacon, JPUH research nurse, leading the study from a delivery perspective said: “It is really important to offer trials to our participants and we are delighted to support staff and patients’ opportunities to participate in research.”

The study is being led nationally by the Warwick Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Warwick, with support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Dr Helen Macdonald, of the NIHR’s regional clinical research network, said, “Without research, and without those who take part in it, we simply can’t identify the ways to treat patients with this diagnosis, so we are extremely grateful to all those involved.”