The two successful funding bids, led by Prof Peter Hutchinson and supported by the Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit, will allow the roll out of two randomised trials aiming to improve the outcomes of head-injured patients.
The RESCUE-ASDH trial (£1.4 million; NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme) is focussing on patients with acute subdural haematomas (ASDH) – the most lethal type of traumatic brain injury. When an ASDH is evacuated, the bone flap can be left out or replaced prior to closing the skin. The trial will compare these two specific components of the operation to remove an ASDH. The trial is aiming to recruit 990 patients and will take place across several sites in the UK and worldwide.
The Dex-CSDH trial (£1.2 million; NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme) is focussing on patients with chronic subdural haematomas (CSDH). This condition is especially common in older individuals and can happen with only a minor injury to the head. It can cause drowsiness, confusion, limb weakness and problems with mobility. The trial is aiming to examine whether a two-week course of dexamethasone can improve outcomes by reducing the rate of surgical interventions and the recurrence rate. The sample size is 750 patients and the study will be rolled out across the UK.
Importantly, this will be the first time that neurosurgical trainees will play a central role in the delivery of neurosurgical trials. This will be done through the British Neurosurgical Trainee Research Collaborative (www.bntrc.org.uk) – a UK-wide research network for neurosurgical trainees / junior staff which was co-founded in Cambridge two years ago. Mr Angelos Kolias –an academic neurosurgical trainee in Cambridge– chairs the BNTRC and is leading the involvement of trainees in both trials.