A research paper, relating to work undertaken by a team at by Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) around the treatment of Covid-19 patients, has been published in a highly-acclaimed medical journal.
Following their work with the use of CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines on those patients brought into the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, a team, led by Dr Abdul Ashish, has been able to provide valuable treatment to the people of Wigan, reducing the number of people dying of Covid-19, both in Wigan and across the world.
And alongside statisticians at Lancaster University, the team were able to deliver high quality research that was picked up and published in the BMJ Respiratory Open
Dr Martin Farrier, Associate Medical Director, said: “The BMJ Respiratory Open is a very significant journal, but more than that, the results of the work are important in terms of our response to Covid-19 and for our organisation.
“This is the most important publication on the use of CPAP in treating Covid-19 patients and shows a significant association with a fall in mortality. The way that we treat patients here in Wigan has been influential in the way that patients are now treated in other organisations.”
Dr Farrier added: “Dr Luigi Sedda and his team at Lancaster University were the number crunchers. The work was complicated and needed some very special computational calculations from a super specialist statistician so they provided crucial support in analysing and presenting this data for scientific publication. This collaboration with Lancaster University has been remarkable and allowed us to deliver high quality research. “
Dr Luigi Sedda of Lancaster University said: “We have shown using CPAP in the first days of hospitalisation seems to save between 10 per cent to 20 per cent of patients.
However, it is important to underline that this was a pilot study with a small sample size, although comforting evidence is starting to emerge elsewhere.”
The research conducted by the team showed how CPAP can be delivered effectively in a ward setting, with low resources both across the country and worldwide where intensive care bed availability is limited.
Dr Ashish said: “When you use CPAP early in the admission it stops the patient getting worse, therefore avoiding invasive ventilation techniques. As CPAP is readily available and can be used in a ward setting, we have demonstrated that, when used early, it can be very effective modality of treatment against severe Covid-19 pneumonia.”
Covid-19 causes lungs to be swollen and then collapse but the use of CPAP, which is often used at home to help people with sleep problems, helps to keep the lungs open and makes breathing easier.
Dr Ashish, Consultant Respiratory Physician, said: “We are one of the early adopters of ward based CPAP in the North West and have developed local protocols and pathways and modified our existing CPAP machines to deliver good outcomes for our patients.
The research has helped close to 100 patients at RAEI so far and investigations continue at WWL.
Dr Farrier said: “The people of Wigan can be sure that they are going to get the best care at WWL because we have helped to develop the best care.
“We are at the forefront of developing care for Covid-19 patients and have developed a very effective treatment strategy for our population who develop lung failure following Covid-19 infection.”
Dr Ashish added: “We are able to extend this life saving treatment to our population for better outcomes and now we have led the way in showing the effectiveness of this treatment to medical fraternity.”