Neonatology Research

Marg (Research Nurse) & Judith (NICUS Clinical Auditor)

The Neonatal Intensive and Special Care units at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children support and participate in research. Past research has improved both survival rates and the quality of life of premature and sick newborns in NICUs around the world. Research continues to assists us in providing your baby world class medical and nursing care throughout their journey in the NICU.

All research undertaken within the NICU has the approval of the ACT Human Ethics Committee and is overseen by the Neonatal Academia and Research Group. We participate in all types of research from trialling new equipment and drugs to surveying parents to learn from their experience in our unit.

During your baby’s admission to the Neonatal Unit you may be asked if she or he can take part in one or more of these studies. We will provide you with information about the study and you can ask to talk to the research team. If you are considering allowing your baby to participate in a clinical trial, please feel free to ask any questions or bring up any issues at any time.

All research is voluntary and you have the choice to say yes or no. We understand this is a very stressful time for your family, if you decide to say no, it will not affect your baby's care in any way. We invite you to become part of our team working towards a better life for all the babies we care for in our unit now and in the future.

For more information please contact:

Margaret Broom
Neonatal Research Nurse
Email: margaret.broom@act.gov.au

Phone: (02) 6174 7570.

Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUS) Data Collection

NICUS is an important system of collecting data to ensure that the highest possible standards of care for very sick and/or premature babies requiring neonatal intensive care are maintained.

We are looking very closely at those babies who:

1. Require assistance with breathing (mechanical ventilation or Continuous Positive Airways Pressure (CPAP) or high flow nasal oxygen/air >1L/min using a device, blender and humidification) or,
2. Weigh less than or equal to 1500 grams at birth or
3. Are born more than 8 weeks prematurely or,
4. Require a major operation or,
5. Require a central line inserted or,
6. Require intentional body cooling or,
7. Require exchange transfusion.

The sort of information we are gathering is designed to give us as complete picture a possible of the pregnancy and of the teatment and progress of your baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Only a small number of people have access to this information. There is no way that you or your baby will be identifiable in any reports or presentations we make about this audit. In an effort to improve patient care nationally, de-identified NICUS data is contributed to the Australian and New Zealand Neonatal Network (ANZNN) Data Collection.

For such a system to be accurate and reliable it is vital that every eligible baby in NSW and ACT is included.

If you have any questions at all please contact:

Judith Smith
Clinical Audit Officer
Phone: (02) 6174 7559
Email: JudithL.Smith@act.gov.au

Recent Research Studies

Australian Placental Transfusion Study - APTS

The Australian Placental Transfusion Study compares two ways of cord clamping for babies < 30 weeks. The first is standard practice - clamping the umbilical cord at birth immediately so that care of the baby and delivery of the placenta (the third stage of labour) can start straight away. The second is to let the baby get extra blood by holding the baby below the level of the placenta and waiting for a minute or more before clamping the cord. This is called placental transfusion. Placental transfusion may help preterm babies by preventing anaemia and improving low blood flow. This may reduce bleeding in the brain, lung and gut problems, infections and need for blood transfusions.

LIFT study

Human lactoferrin is a protein in breast milk which helps protect against infection. Bovine lactoferrin is a dairy protein in cow’s milk and a normal part of our diet. This is a randomised study aims to investigate if adding Bovine lactoferrin to babies’ milk can increase survival free from infection and other complications in very low birth weight babies. Babies less than 1500gms are eligible for the study, they are then randomised to either receive or not receive lactoferrin until 34 weeks. Study researchers will then compare short and long term outcomes of both groups.

Central Blood Flow Measurements in Preterm Neonates

Central blood flow (CBF) measurements are measurements of blood flow into and out of the heart. CBF measurements are a more accurate measure of your baby’s circulation compared to heart rate, colour and blood pressure. These measurements can be done using ultrasound. We do not know the normal numbers for CBF measurements after 2 weeks of life in preterm babies, so this study is to find out what their normal CBF measurements are and how they change during disease states. We wish to measure CBF in premature babies born before 30 weeks gestation. It involves ultrasounds of the heart on day 14, day 28 and at 36 weeks corrected gestation or just before leaving the nursery. We will also collect any relevant clinical, ultrasonography and blood results data during the baby’s admission to the NICU.

Paracetamol Duct Action - PDA TRIAL

Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) occurs in 20% in preterm infants greater than 32 weeks gestation and up to 60% in those less than 28 weeks gestation. At present there are a number of different ways to treat a duct both medical and surgical. A recent abstract publication described a case series of five infants who appeared to have spontaneous late PDA closure following the use of paracetamol for unrelated indications. Paracetamol is a commonly used medication in infants with a relatively benign side effect profile, so if found to be efficacious, could provide a useful alternative for treatment of a PDA with some persisting clinical effects. The aim of this study is to determine whether oral paracetamol is a safe and effective treatment for a prolonged PDA in premature babies.