Neonatal team plays vital role in NeoCLEAR research study success

Neonatal team plays vital role in NeoCLEAR research study success


Results of a study in new born babies to determine whether a ‘best’ technique, either sitting or lying down, could be identified to achieve a successful lumbar puncture have been published thanks to participation from the Neonatal Team at Medway NHS Foundation Trust.

The Trust was one of 21 NHS trusts that took part in the NeoCLEAR (Neonatal Champagne Lumbar punctures Every time – A Randomised Controlled Trial) study between 2018 and 2020.

NeoCLEAR a multicentre, randomised, controlled trial, investigated techniques to increase lumbar puncture success in new born babies. A lumbar puncture is a procedure which takes a small amount of fluid from the spine through a needle in the lower back. They are performed on babies primarily to diagnose or exclude meningitis.

Over the course of 19 months, the Trust successfully signed up 126 patients to take part in the study, with 1,082 patients recruited nationally.

The study’s results, published in the Lancet, show performing lumbar punctures in new born babies is more successful in a sitting position, which will help reduce the amount of attempts needed, give a clear course of treatment and avoid babies being kept in hospital longer than necessary.

Helen Harizaj, one of our Clinical Research Nurses in the Neonatal Team at the Trust, played a vital role in the study by supporting, facilitating and running it. She said: “Taking part in the study was a real team effort. Outstanding work was carried out by our post graduate doctors and Alison Youdale, one of our Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioners in recruiting patients. Dr Felicity Brokke was the Principal Investigator at Medway who oversaw the study.

“When taking part in research studies it is not always known whether it will be of benefit or not, so we are delighted to see our patients participation in the NeoCLEAR trial to the NICU”.

Dr Aung Soe, Consultant Neonatologist and Neonatal Research Lead, Medway NHS Foundation Trust said: “The success of the study at the Trust is thanks to the fact research is embedded in our practice and as a result of the engagement of the clinical team.

“I would like to thank our Neonatal Team for their great work in helping Medway take part in vital research studies such as NeoCLEAR.”