Two young researchers recognised in VIC Premier's Prizes

Congratulations to Dr Kylie Dyson and Dr Emma Ridley, finalists in the Victorian Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research 2019, which were announced on Monday. Getting through to the finalist stage is in itself a huge accomplishment, and Kylie also left the ceremony with the Health Services Researcher Award.

Commenting on the number of women who made the finals, Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said,

“In Victoria, we have a long and proud history of uncovering world-leading medical discoveries and these awards over 25 years have showcased our very best and brightest.”

“It’s great to see women in science leading the way, representing 19 out of 24 finalists this year, it shows women are making world-first breakthroughs that are transforming lives, here and around the globe.”

Dr Kylie Dyson

Paramedic exposure to cardiac arrest and patient survival: does practice make perfect?

Approximately 30,000 Australians suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year, which fewer than 10 per cent survive. Early defibrillation and high-quality chest compressions are known to improve patient survival and it is likely that experienced paramedics perform better at these vital interventions.

Using the Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry, Dr Dyson measured paramedic exposure to cardiac arrest cases and complex resuscitation procedures.

Dr Dyson’s research reveals Victorian paramedics treat fewer than two cardiac arrests each year, and paramedics receive little refresher training to maintain their resuscitation competency.

The research showed patients treated by paramedics with the highest exposure to cardiac arrest are 50 per cent more likely to survive. Patients intubated by paramedics with more exposure to this skill were also more likely to be intubated more successfully.

The findings suggest monitoring paramedic exposure to cardiac arrest and resuscitation procedures and strategies such as simulation training.

Dr Emma Ridley

Understanding the impact of nutrition during critical illness

Approximately 100,000 Australians are admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) annually. Vital nutrients are often provided via a tube (gastric nutrition) or the vein (intravenous nutrition). Although the majority of critically ill patients receive nutrition, the exact effect on recovery is unclear.

Dr Ridley’s research identifies vital evidence and practice gaps to inform future research and the practice of nutrition provision in critical illness.

Dr Ridley found that the literature informing knowledge of energy in critical illness is of low quality, and international research showed nutrition intake often remains inadequate after transfer to the hospital ward. The research confirmed that only 50-60 per cent of the intended nutrition is provided to critically ill patients and is leaving patients consistently underfed. The research demonstrated that combining gastric tube nutrition and intravenous nutrition can increase energy delivery to 80-100 per cent of a patient’s need.

Dr Ridley’s work has led to the development and funding of a world first industry collaboration, to further investigate the role of nutrition on patient recovery following critical illness.

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