Clinician praised for saving lives in intensive care through research. Thousands of patients in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) have benefited from the clinical trials led in New Zealand by Auckland City Hospital intensive care specialist and clinical researcher Dr. Colin McArthur.
For more than two decades, Dr. McArthur and his colleagues have questioned and tested treatment options available to critically-ill patients in the ICU, to reveal the safest, most effective ways to treat illnesses that pose a threat to life.
Many of these trials have changed clinical guidelines and clinical practices in ICUs worldwide, and last night they earned Dr. McArthur the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) Beaven Medal for excellence in translational health research.
The ANZICS CTG's first randomized controlled trial, published in The Lancet in 2000, looked at low-dose dopamine, a common treatment at the time for protection against kidney failure. The trial found that low-dose dopamine did not influence the progression of acute kidney injury, and consequently the treatment was removed from guidelines and clinical practice in ICUs worldwide.
From there, Dr McArthur and his colleagues at the ANZICS CTG gained their first major grant from the Health Research Council and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council to investigate whether the choice of resuscitation fluids for patients in ICUs affected survival.
Published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2004, the study was described as a landmark trial, but also a milestone for the discipline of critical care medicine … heralding a new era in critical care marked by the large, simple randomized trial 'sub-set of patients).
They have since gained HRC project funding for a host of trials that have been published and recognized in 2016 and had been the first full-time hospital clinician to successfully win HRC-funded five-year program grant.
He says, through this funding support, lives have been saved and New Zealand has been able to develop research capability in intensive care clinicians and trainees, ensuring the long-term sustainability of research in the ICU.
Because of the systems and processes we've put in place, clinicians now have a process and system for answering questions that they see every day.
The Medal acknowledges not just me and the many others involved, but also that intensive care research has come of age; that is a strong player in the clinical research space, and we're seeing its impact on the wider international stage. It's good to see we've made that transition and it's now being acknowledged.