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Trial of early peritoneal dialysis after cardiac surgery in children

Dr Siva Namachivayam, Institution: Murdoch Children's Research Institute

2017 Health Professional Scholarship

Years funded: 2018-2024


Children undergoing heart surgery require a cardiopulmonary bypass. This is a technique which takes over the work of heart and lungs, so that the surgeon can perform the operation.

The use of cardiopulmonary bypass often causes a reaction called systemic inflammatory response (or SIRS for short). Children who develop SIRS are much more likely to have complications in intensive care including: a prolonged stay, need for time on breathing machine and even death.

Peritoneal dialysis is a therapy often used after heart surgery. It involves placing fluid in the abdomen and using the lining to remove fluids and substances. Early use of this therapy after operation often improves outcomes. Dr Namachivayam plans to study the role of early peritoneal dialysis in preventing complications of SIRS.

The study will be conducted in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. Babies will either get early peritoneal dialysis or normal care. Early peritoneal dialysis will start within an hour of arriving in the intensive care after heart surgery and continue for 15 hours. Normal care babies will only get peritoneal dialysis if needed for artificial kidney function.

This study is important not just for the Royal Children’s Hospital, but also for children around the world. Poor countries are performing complex heart operations and peritoneal dialysis is a low-cost treatment that may improve outcomes for all these children.

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