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Oxford Children's Hospital

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Research in Paediatric Critical Care (PICU and PHDU)

Our aim is to give Paediatric Critical Care patients and their families the best possible care.

Therefore, we are passionate about clinical research and believe we should offer every child in critical care the opportunity to be involved in research.

Research on patients is often referred to as a 'trial' or 'study'. This is a structured process leading to new information about a treatment, a test or a condition. This new information can be used in lots of different, positive, ways.

Examples of positive outcomes include:

  • a new drug or therapy that treats a known condition better than a previous one
  • a new test allowing us to give more accurate information about a child's condition
  • a new device that would allow us to treat children more effectively.

The decision to take part in research is always voluntary. Your child will receive excellent care whether you decide to participate or not. You are free to withdraw your child from any study at any time, with no impact on their care.

If you agree to participate in a research study, the team will regularly check that you are happy to remain in the study.

Studies 2022


Pressure logo

We would like to find out more about how low blood pressure is managed and treated. Part of the treatment of low blood pressure are drugs called vasopressors, and, while they are essential, they also carry risks. We want to find out whether children on PICU could be managed more safely with lower blood pressure targets, and whether it could lead to these children receiving less drug treatment and recover more quickly.

Eligible children will be randomised to either lower blood pressure targets or standard care.

Routinely recorded observations will be collected and there is a short questionnaire one year later.

Open now and running until January 2024.


The PIES Study logo

We would like to know how common it is for babies and young children to have feeding problems after an admission to PICU. When a child is ventilated on PICU they miss out on being fed by mouth for long periods of time. Unfortunately, this means young babies and small children miss key developmental milestones related to eating. We would like to know how much of an impact this has on a child's daily life once they have left PICU.

This study requires no additional testing or interventions but does ask parents to fill in questionnaires at one, three and six months post discharge.

Open now and running until September 2023.


Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (Recovery) logo

We would like to compare several different treatments that may be useful in treating patients with COVID-19 or PIMS-TS.

The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (Recovery) study will randomise the child to one of the treatment options - this may include additional medications, all currently used within hospital care. If the child deteriorates, they can be re-randomised for further treatment. The research team will collect routinely recorded data.

Open now and running until COVID-19 is better understood.


Diamonds - making diagnosis personal (logo)

We would like to design new diagnostic tests to help us tell quickly, and accurately, what illness a patient has. When different illnesses have similar symptoms, they can be difficult to diagnose accurately and quickly, meaning the best treatments may be delayed.

In order to study children who are unwell, it is important we take research samples before any treatment has started. We may take a small blood sample, alongside clinically required bloods, before we have had a chance to discuss it with their parents to keep for research. These will not be processed or kept without consent.

This study involves taking research samples, on up to three separate occasions, during the child's hospital stay. These will be taken alongside blood samples requested by the medical team. Parents may also be asked to complete a non-compulsory questionnaire.

Open now and running until June 2023.


Biomarker-guided duration of Antibiotic Treatment in Children Hospitalised with confirmed or suspected bacterial infection (BATCH) logo

Biomarker-guided duration of Antibiotic Treatment in Children Hospitalised with confirmed or suspected bacterial infection (BATCH) is a randomisation study looking at the use of Procalcitonin (PCT) - a type of blood test to guide clinicians' decisions about antibiotic therapy in children hospitalised with a known or suspected bacterial infection.

There are two arms to the study and participants are randomised to either the Usual Care (Control) arm where data is collected, or to the PCT arm where bloods are taken every 1-3 days, alongside clinical bloods. Both arms last whilst your child is in hospital and/or on intravenous antibiotics.

Participants and their parents in both arms of the study will receive a follow-up phone call at 28 days after the date of recruitment.

Open now and running until October 2022.

Further information

Please read our leaflet at the link below:

Research in Paediatric Critical Care (pdf)

Last reviewed:19 August 2022