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Dr Adam Brayne, a current Peninsula trainee, is conducting a research project on patients admitted to ICU after drowning. Details below.....

We are looking for volunteers to take part in a multi-centre retrospective project into drowning patients on ICU in the south-west. Drowning kills 600 people per year in the UK but little is known about the morbidity in those who survive, and what made the difference in those who don’t. There is no British data on the topic for more than 10 years, this is a project seeking to break new ground in the area. Initially we aim to simply describe the caseload and characteristics of drowning patients on ICU from the last 10 years. This is novel and eminently publishable, and using the same data later down the line we plan to model the effects of interventions on mortality and functional outcomes for drowned patients e.g. is there an association between initial arrest rhythm and outcome or is there an association between prehospital airway management and outcome. Little is known about this, and for rare events such as this retrospective analyses are our best chance of identifying trends.

The project is based in North Devon, where we have successfully piloted the methodology (outlined below). We have the support of international drowning expert Dr Paddy Morgan, who is based in Bristol and advises national bodies on drowning risks and management. We are pleased to have won the support of the SWARM network and this project is already running in 5 sites in the south-west. We are looking to expand to include the Severn deanery and so are keen to hear from trainees who are interested in the project.

The time commitments are small for this project, the local lead would need to join a virtual meeting to go through the protocol in detail, however the work is described here so you can decide if it is for you. The local lead would be expected to find a consultant supervisor and register the project with the audit department (descriptive text provided). The cases are identified through the ICNARC database (with ICNARC’s consent) via the local ICNARC administrator on ICU. This will produce a list of patients admitted to the ICU following drowning. The notes are then requested from medical records and once all available, reviewed. A data collection tool is supplied. Once data is collected it will be anonymised and transferred back to the hub in North Devon.

This is a simple project with the scope to be very impactful. Please contact Adam on with a statement of interest if you’re interested in being a local lead.


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