The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) is backing a leading medical trial program based at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) to continue important research into anaesthesia and pain management after surgery.

THRF has provided a $100,000 funding injection to the ‘perioperative and pain medicine’ trial program, run by the RAH’s Dr Thomas Painter and colleagues in both the Department of Anaesthesia and PARC Clinical Research, to ensure it could continue its world-class trials and recruit patients.

Three trials are currently underway in the hospital and looking for patients to participate – one being the largest ever trial globally to address chronic post-surgical pain.

“Chronic post-surgical pain is one of the most common and debilitating postoperative complications,” Dr Painter said.

“Called ‘ROCKET’, this trial is focusing on reducing chronic post-surgical pain with ketamine, one of the only agents to have shown promise in this area.

“ROCKET is an Australian trial, devised and developed by Professor Philip Peyton in Melbourne and is being run by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) Clinical Trials Network.

“5000 patients worldwide are required for this trial and the RAH has shown in the past it can punch above its weight when contributing to this type of research.”

Thanks to Dr Painter’s work, the RAH has become a leading patient recruitment site for these perioperative trials nationally with more than 2000 South Australians participating over the past 11 years.

“I am very proud of this contribution as it has substantially increased the profile of the RAH in perioperative medicine research,” Dr Painter said.

“But most importantly it means that the results of this important and influential research are highly relevant to the people of South Australia who have so willingly agreed to be participants.”

Of the two other trials currently underway, also developed by the ANZCA Clinical Trials Network, more than 240 RAH patients have joined an 8880-patient global study called ‘PADDI’ which is looking at the impact of dexamethasone (a drug commonly used to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery) on surgical site infection.

Another 61 RAH patients are participating in the ‘ITACS’ trial, in which intravenous iron is given for the treatment of anaemia before cardiac surgery. This contribution makes up an impressive 25 per cent of the total 247 patients recruited so far for this study globally.

Dr Painter and his team were grateful for the grant given by THRF to continue the trials and recruit patients.

“Thanks to the THRF funding, the research coordinators involved have been able to stay on and have the time to focus their attention on these important projects,” he said.

“We thank the Foundation for its support, enabling us to be in the position we are now.”