In 2013 A/Professor Glenn Eastwood from Austin Health was awarded a Foundation Research Grant for just $13,320 to carry out a pilot feasibility and safety randomised controlled trial into therapeutic hypercapnia (higher then normal levels of carbon dioxide in the blood) after cardiac arrest.
We were therefore delighted to learn just before Christmas that Glenn’s pilot study has led to almost $2.1 million in NHMRC funding for a collaboration with Professor Stephen Bernard of the ANZIC-RC to conduct a definitive phase III multi-centre randomised controlled trial in resuscitated and mechanically ventilated ICU cardiac arrest patients. This trial will determine whether targeted therapeutic mild hypercapnia (TTMH) during mechanical ventilation improves neurological outcome at 6 months compared to targeted normocapnia (normal levels of carbon dioxide in the blood).
Supported by compelling preliminary data, the research team contend that significant improvements in patient outcomes are achievable with this proposed simple and cost free therapy. To appropriately test their study hypothesis they plan to recruit 1,700 patients, making this the largest trial ever conducted involving cardiac arrest patients admitted to the intensive care unit. Importantly, if this trial confirms that TTMH is effective, its findings will improve the lives of many Australians, transform clinical practice and yield major economic gains worldwide.