Portfolio project

BLF research report

How we make a difference

One measure of how we have made a real difference to the lives of people with lung disease is when the results of BLF-funded studies find their way into clinical guidelines. Here, we look at three research projects that have helped shape the treatment of pneumonia in children, asthma and bronchiectasis.

1 Treating children at home

In 2002, we awarded Professor Terence Stephenson, of the University of Nottingham, a two-year grant to compare injected antibiotics (intravenous/IV) and oral antibiotics (tablets or syrup) in the treatment of chest infections in children.

At that time, IV antibiotics, given in hospital, had long been the established treatment, and there were no guidelines on the use of oral antibiotics.

In the study, 246 children with pneumonia, aged between six months and 18 years, were divided into two groups: one to receive oral antibiotics and the other to receive IV antibiotics.

The results showed the two treatments were equally effective. There are a number of additional benefits to oral antibiotic treatment for pneumonia: children can be safely and effectively treated at home, so they don’t have to spend time in hospital or endure painful injections and family life is less disrupted. It also frees up beds for other patients and costs the health service less.

From these findings, it was concluded that oral antibiotics were an effective treatment for children admitted to hospital with pneumonia.

In the guidelines

The study’s results are in the British Thoracic Society’s Guidelines for the management of acquired pneumonia in children update 2011.

“ Antibiotics administered orally are safe and effective for children presenting with even severe CAP [community-acquired pneumonia] and are recommended.”

PRO

Brian Gerard Burns

BB Editorial London

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