Critical Care Research

Critical Care Research

We host the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Experimental Medicine Clinical Research Facility, which is a dynamic partnership with our local community trust and Lancaster University.

World class research iconThe facility has a remit to grow early translational and experimental medicines trials across Lancashire and South Cumbria, and has high quality clinical space, experienced staff, laboratory facilities and overnight accommodation.

We also host Brain Tumour North West – a collaborative that supports the collection of brain tumour tissue to inform research into improved treatments and diagnostics in brain cancers, and are developing a bio-resource with a Research HTA licence and growing informatics infrastructure.

As a local delivery partner for the 100K Genomes project, we are at the forefront of the national transformation of genomics services in the NHS. We consistently recruit the most participants to NIHR clinical trials in the region, and have a broad portfolio of multi-centre and locally led research studies. Working closely with academic partners we have a developing cohort of clinical academic fellows working towards MDs and PhDs, and have established joint clinical academic appointments.

Our facility provides the best possible environment in which to host research studies and clinical trials, and our award-winning research team will provide you with a wide range of expert support to undertake research work.

Our national research trials include:

PRISM - looking at the use of supplemental breathing masks to optimise patients after open abdominal surgery

Prevent Harp 2 – looking at the use of statins in reducing respiratory complications in postoperative patients

The 65 trial - looking at how we control blood pressure in the over 65 year olds

Our Critical Care Research

We have a highly enthusiastic department with two specialist research nurses, an academic foundation year trainee and research clinical fellows.

We have close relationships with UCLAN and Lancaster University for developing projects and we’re keen for any new ideas.

Many of our medical staff routinely publish original research papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Our staff are also supported in presenting their findings at local or international meetings.

We are also in the process of finalising the second edition of “A Beginner’s guide to intensive care medicine” a shortlisted BMJ Book of the Year. This book has many chapters written by our medical staff.

beginners guide to intensive care book cover

Here are some more books with our staff involvement
Book Cover - Primary FRCA OSCEs in Anaesthesia

Primary FRCA: OSCEs in Anaesthesia 
1st Edition, Kindle Edition

Anaesthetics for Junior Doctors and Allied Professionals - The Essential Guide

Anaesthetics for Junior Doctors and Allied Professionals: The Essential Guide

1st Edition, Kindle Edition


Our Critical Care Research - Improving care for patients with the use of artificial intelligence

latest news

We are working in partnership with LIOPA, a Belfast based AI start up and Queen’s University in Belfast, to develop an AI-powered mobile app that translates lip movements for tracheostomy patients.

This partnership will develop a system entitled SRAVI (Speech Recognition App for the Voice Impaired) using LipRead, LIOPA’s artificial intelligence engine for visual speech recognition.

A tracheostomy is an opening created at the front of the neck to allow a tube to be inserted into the windpipe to aid breathing. Patients with a tracheostomy tube are prevented from speaking by the tube passing through their vocal chords, but they remain able to move their lips.

SRAVI will offer an easy-to-use, accurate and cost effective method for communication between tracheostomy patients, their family members and healthcare staff which is aimed at improving patient engagement and autonomy. This system will have huge benefits for patients who are currently unable to communicate with their loved ones and carers.

Approximately 10,000 tracheostomies are performed annually in the UK alone. The initial project will focus on testing a range of phrases in a select group of tracheostomy patients with the expectation that a wide range of patients will ultimately benefit from the use of this technology in the future.

Shondipon Laha, Consultant in Critical Care and Anaesthesia at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, explained: “This project will address a government priority to implement new digital solutions in the NHS. SRAVI will deliver improved patient-carer communications for patients with tracheostomies. It therefore reduces rehabilitation times in expensive ICU settings. This system will have huge benefits for our patients who will be able to communicate with their families but also with healthcare staff in our hospitals.”

Liam McQuillan, Co-Founder and CEO of Liopa, said: “This is an innovative application of our proven AI-based Visual Speech Recognition (VSR) system LipRead. LipRead analyses and translates lip movements into recognisable words. The technology allows the translation of lip movement to text using a mobile app on a mobile device. It requires very little training and is inexpensive.”

Liam continued: “SRAVI can be deployed on commodity smartphones and tablets that can be used by multiple patients. Alternative technologies, such as ‘eye-gaze’ systems, require bespoke hardware and are generally much more expensive.”

The nine month project will include a development and evaluation phase, carried out in hospital critical care environments in both Lancashire and Belfast. Whilst the initial prototype will support a limited vocabulary in English, the application can be further developed to support larger vocabularies across multiple languages.

Clinical Professor Danny McAuley at QUB’s Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine and Consultant at the Belfast Trust commented: “The inability to communicate during an ICU stay is a major source of morbidity for patients, family and staff. A patient’s non-verbal attempts to communicate are often difficult to understand. This can be frustrating for patients and carers. This novel approach may allow better communication between the patient, staff and family from an early stage.”

"This system will have huge benefits for our patients
who will be able to communicate with their families
but also with healthcare staff in our hospitals."

Shondipon Laha, Consultant in Critical Care and Anaesthesia

Our research interests include:

How patients are referred

Sleep and delirium

Sound pollution

The use of cardiopulmonary testing

IT in critical care

Innovation in critical care