25 Feb 2017

Dr Paul Young: Improving Intensive Care

From Saturday Morning, 9:05 am on 25 February 2017

Wellington Hospital intensive care specialist Dr Paul Young is actively involved in clinical research designed to improve the outcomes of critically ill patients around the world.

Dr Paul Young at work

Dr Paul Young was recently awarded the Health Research Council Liley Medal. Photo: supplied

Over the past three years, while working full-time as an intensive care specialist, Dr Young has completed a PhD in clinical research.

He has more than $25 million of current research funding, and is involved in research collaborations with colleagues from around the world. He was recently awarded the Health Research Council's Liley Medal, recognising an outstanding contribution to health research: his winning study evaluated intravenous fluid therapy in critically ill patients.

The study was one of two Dr Young was involved in that were published online in the two most prestigious medical journals in the world in the same week.

He is now looking at extending his investigation into whether more expensive intravenous fluids improve survival rates for patients in intensive care.

He has already found that saline - which is considerably cheaper than PlasmaLyte - works just as well on at-risk kidney patients.

He will now collaborate with colleagues in Brazil on a much bigger trial to get more conclusive results.

"Now we're going bigger, and at the end of this trial we'll have very precise estimates. If there is a difference, we will know. If there's not a difference, then we can use the cheapest fluid."

Dr Young said combining his trial with a similar one being run in Brazil would bring the number of participants up to 19,000, which would be enough to give the results they needed.