Ulster ICU Team Researching New Ways to Treat Ventilated Patients

30th November 2022
Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Dr Matthew Devine and Clinical Research Nurse, Samantha Hagan

An exciting new research study called UK-ROX is currently underway in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) based in the Ulster Hospital.

Each year around 184,000 patients are admitted into ICU departments across the UK; over 30% of which require the assistance of a ventilator to help them breathe. The concentration of oxygen administered through a ventilator is adjusted according to how much oxygen can be detected in a patient’s blood. Some previous studies have shown that patients may have better outcomes when a lower, rather than higher oxygen saturation is maintained.

The UK-ROX study aims to investigate this further and try to determine if a slightly lower oxygen level helps to optimise recovery. Consultant in Anaesthesia Intensive Care Medicine and Principal Investigator for the UK-ROX study, Dr Matthew Devine said, “Extremely high or extremely low oxygen levels can cause damage to the body. The purpose of this study is to look at the effects of a small reduction in the oxygen given to patients.

“This very important research will help us to understand the effects of oxygen on the body and will help us find the best ways to treat our patients.”

Clinical Research Nurse, Samantha Hagan works alongside the ICU Consultants to identify patients eligible for the study, she oversees patient treatment plans while they are taking part in the study and follows up with them at home once discharged. Samantha explained, “ICU patients are usually sedated and ventilated on admission to ICU, so we involve the patient’s families in the decision making process and ensure that their voices are heard.

“We are hopeful that this study will shine a light on oxygen treatment and will help us to develop better patient care and improve personalised treatment plans in the future.”

The UK-ROX study will run until November 2023, the results will be available to ICU teams across the UK once the study has been completed.