Dr Paul McNamara: A pilot study to assess whether humidified oxygen is more effective than standard oxygen therapy in treating children with acute severe asthma

Asthma is a big problem in the UK with about 1.1 million children having this condition and 30,000 hospitalised with it every year. About a third of children admitted to hospital need oxygen during their stay. Often this is given as cold, dry oxygen, piped straight from the wall. However, there are very good physiological reasons why oxygen therapy given for acute severe asthma attacks should be warmed and humidified. We want to find out which is the best way of giving oxygen to these children. We have recently been successful in applying for a RfPB grant to study this further. At Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, we have enough children admitted with acute severe asthma to undertake a pilot study to work out what outcomes will be most important to measure in a definitive multi-centre study. The RDS NW were fantastically helpful in aiding the development of this application through their advisers and seminars – we couldn’t have done it without their help!