NHMRC grant will support paediatric research into high-flow oxygen therapy

Monash Health Paediatric Emergency Physician and Monash University Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor Simon Craig is one of a team of chief investigators who were awarded NHMRC funding to undertake a new multi-centre study on the use of nasal high-flow oxygen for children with acute respiratory illnesses.

Acute hypoxic respiratory failure is one of the most common reasons children are admitted to hospital, and leads to hundreds of intensive care admissions each year. 

Associate Professor Craig and colleagues recently published a randomised multi-centre trial of nasal high-flow oxygen in over 1400 infants with bronchiolitis in the New England Journal of Medicine. This study showed reduced treatment escalation in the high-flow group, but no difference in any other outcomes such as hospital length of stay or ICU admission. The new study will apply similar methods to children older than 12 months with hypoxic respiratory failure of any cause.

“High-flow nasal oxygen (HFNO) therapy has been rapidly adopted in acute paediatric care. However, we are still trying to identify whether or not it has any impact on patient-centred outcomes,” Dr Craig said. 

“Studies of HFNO appear to show short-term benefits relating to work of breathing. However, it is yet to be shown whether or not adoption of this technology improves outcomes important to patients and families, such as hospital length of stay.”

The grant, for over $2 million, will allow the study to be conducted at multiple centres across Australia and New Zealand, including Monash Children’s Hospital. It builds on previous successful multi centre research conducted by the Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative (PREDICT) network, and the Paediatric Critical Care Research Group.