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Funding boost for vulnerable Australian cardiac patients

Funding boost gives hope to vulnerable Australian cardiac patients: A Curtin University research team has been awarded almost $1.5million in Federal Government funding to coordinate Australian trials of a high-flow oxygen delivery strategy to reduce complications for vulnerable cardiac surgery patients, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The project, led by Associate Professor Edward Litton from the Curtin School of Population Health, was successful in the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) 2020 International Clinical Trial Collaboration grants.

Partnering with a clinical trial team in the United Kingdom, the team will test whether high flow oxygen delivered through nose cannula, rather than traditional oxygen therapy via mask, can improve outcomes and reduce hospital stay times for at-risk cardiac patients, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran said the funding would allow the team, which includes John Curtin Distinguished Professor Christopher Reid from the Curtin School of Population Health and Professor Andrew Maiorana from the Curtin School of Allied Health, to address an urgent unmet need.

“Lung complications following cardiac surgery are common, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients suffering disproportionately worse outcomes,” Professor Moran said.

“This study will allow the team to establish trial sites in Australia, to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and to have them actively participate in the study.

“If successful, this trial will reduce the high burden of adverse outcomes following cardiac surgery. It will also see patient recovery time dramatically increased, positively adding to the ebb and flow of hospital processes from a bed and staffing perspective.

“I would like to congratulate the team for being recognised by the Federal Government for their work which will allow them to leverage international scale to positively impact to the future of vulnerable patients undergoing cardiac surgery.”

Research Fellow for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program at The George Institute for Global Health, Julieann Coombes, will play an integral role in the project and participating institutions include Fiona Stanley Hospital, Townsville Hospital and Royal Papworth Hospital in the UK.

The project is titled Nasal high-flow Oxygen Therapy After Cardiac Surgery (NOTACS).

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