A research network established by a network of training anaesthetists in the South West of England, and which in just nine months has become one of the most successful of its kind in the UK, is set to create a buzz at the national Group of Anaesthetists in Training (GAT) annual scientific meeting in Oxford.
The group is called SWARM (South West Anaesthetic Research Matrix) and is currently made up of around 80 training anaesthetists from all six hospitals across the South West.
SWARM was formed to help training anaesthetists get involved with research: often it is difficult for them to do so because they rotate through hospitals at six to 24 month intervals and as a result may not be able to see through research projects they have started.
Although just nine months old, SWARM is already making significant contributions to anaesthesia research in the UK. An example includes the LAS VEGAS project, which is an observational study of intra-operative ventilator settings carried out by the European Society of Anaesthesiology. Intra-operative ventilation is how patients are kept breathing mechanically during an operation and the research seeks to identify whether there is any link between the process and lung problems during and after surgery.
Across Europe, 4700 patients have been recruited to the study. In the UK 1144 patients have been recruited, the highest national total of 31 participating countries, and of those 522 have joined the programme because of SWARM.
SWARM has also carried out the first audit of patients undergoing emergency surgery who may be at risk of lung/breathing complications across a number of hospitals. It has also initiated research investigating the use of certain anaesthetics in the management of abdominal and pelvic pain after surgery.
SWARM will be highlighting its successes at the forthcoming GAT annual scientific meeting on Oxford on 3rd to 5th April.
Professor Robert Sneyd, President of SWARM and Dean of Plymouth University Peninsula College of Medicine, commented: Anaesthetists in training are qualified doctors who often find that the practicalities of their training rotas across a number of hospitals may exclude them from taking part in research. This is why SWARM is so important and why we are especially proud of its achievements, because it has created the framework for training anaesthetists to play a meaningful role in research. Its relatively early successes bode well for the future and the GAT annual scientific meeting will allow us to promote these successes at a national level.