Machine in intensive care unit

A clinical trial which researchers hope could lead to improved survival rates among intensive care patients has achieved a significant milestone.
The UK-ROX trial, funded by the National Institute of Health and Care Research, will test whether giving a lower concentration of oxygen than usual to people on ventilators may be beneficial.
It is aiming to enrol 16,500 people from almost 100 UK intensive care units (ICUs), and has now signed up its 10,000th participant.
The study’s Chief Investigator is Professor Daniel Martin, Professor of Perioperative and Intensive Care Medicine at the University of Plymouth and a Consultant at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Foundation Trust.

The aim of the study is to see if making relatively small adjustments to the amount of oxygen we give to patients can improve their survival. Recruiting 10,000 participants is an amazing achievement and has only been possible as a result of the incredibly hard work that is going on at almost 100 ICUs around the country. Research and clinical teams have gone above and beyond during very difficult times to recruit to this study.

Daniel MartinDaniel Martin
Professor of Perioperative and Intensive Care Medicine

The study is being supported locally by the NIHR Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula, and sponsored by the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC).
Each year, around 184,000 patients are admitted to NHS ICUs and over 30% require help with their breathing using a ventilator (breathing machine).
Giving oxygen through the ventilator is an essential part of this treatment, however the most effective concentration of oxygen that should be administered is not known as both too much, and too little, may cause harm.
The UK-ROX trial is testing an approach known as ‘conservative oxygen therapy’, where a reduced oxygen saturation target is used in critically ill patients. If this is shown to reduce mortality rates compared to the current standard care, the study will recommend immediately changing clinical practice in ICUs throughout the NHS.
Professor Martin added:
“Oxygen is the most common drug we give to our patients on ICU yet we don’t really know how much oxygen to give to patients in order to optimise their recovery. In the past we assumed people needed more oxygen than usual when unwell, thinking oxygen couldn’t be harmful. We now know that giving too much oxygen to patients might cause harm. Given how many patients we treat with oxygen on ICUs every day in the UK, any adjustments that might be delivered from the study have the potential to save thousands of lives.”
Dan Martin

Faculty of Health

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