News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


World’s largest study in Intensive Care

27 May 2004

World’s largest study in Intensive Care

New Zealand and Australian research results provide answers for Doctors across the world

After nearly six years of work, a group of New Zealand and Australian researchers have the answer to a question that has been concerning the medical profession for years: When faced with a critically ill patient, which is the safest way to keep their fluids up, and give them the best chance of survival?

Results, published in the current edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, show that the SAFE study (Saline versus Albumin Fluid Evaluation) has concluded there is no discernable difference in the death rate in intensive care patients resuscitated with two commonly used fluids – human albumin or saline.

The 7000 patient trial, an Australia-New Zealand collaboration, was prompted by a 1998 study (The Cochrane Review) – conducted by UK researchers and published in the BMJ (previously the British Medical Journal). The Review suggested albumin – a protein extracted from donated plasma – caused an increase in mortality among critically ill patients. Although the Cochrane Review changed medical practice (particularly in the UK) the report was widely criticised, and a common reaction amongst the medical community was that a large-scale randomised trial was needed to truly determine the safety of human albumin use.

With over 100,000 patients treated in New Zealand and Australian ICUs every year, and albumin widely used , SAFE researchers thought that the conclusions drawn in the Cochrane Review raised an important public health issue for millions of critically ill patients worldwide. With this in mind, a collaborative group of researchers from the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinical Trials Group (ANZICS CTG), together with The George Institute for International Health (University of Sydney) and with assistance from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and the New Zealand Blood Service, began SAFE, a study three times bigger than any previous Intensive Care Trial.

Dr Simon Finfer, Chair of the ANZICS CTG says the primary question of the SAFE study was clear: “Albumin is widely used in ICUs across the world and there was a question mark over its safety. We felt it was vital to determine whether or not it increased mortality in critically ill patients as other researchers had suggested.

As the biggest trial ever attempted in ICUs the SAFE Study was a very ambitious project, but the results are clear – for Intensive Care patients there is no increase in mortality when we compare albumin with saline, and either can be used safely,” he said.

Auckland and Middlemore Hospitals were the two New Zealand facilities among the 16 Intensive Care Units in Australia and New Zealand that took part in the study.

Dr Colin McArthur, Clinical Director of Auckland City Hospital’s Department of Critical Care Medicine, said clinicians now had clear, evidence-based information on which to make decisions about their choice of treatment.

Dr McArthur said the results of the study would have an impact well beyond Intensive Care Units. In New Zealand, emergency care specialties dealing with resuscitation had already begun to use more saline as the most cost-efficient of equally effective treatment options.

A secondary impact would be the strengthening of the research culture in Intensive Care.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news