Sub-trials shed additional light

Summer 2019

Aside from assessing Erythropoietin’s (Epo) efficacy in reducing neonatal brain damage, teams at Vanderbilt are conducting two smaller studies within the HEAL Trial to offer additional insight.

One team is examining near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) data to determine Epo’s potential mechanisms of action on brain and renal tissues. Researchers will determine how the addition of Epo to cooling may affect brain and kidney NIRS measurements and how these may be associated with improved outcomes.

Another team, led by Erin Havrilla, MSN, RN, nurse manager of Neonatal Services in the NICU at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, and Uchenna Anani, MD, assistant professor in the Mildred Stahlman Division of Neonatology, is conducting interviews with families who were approached about enrolling to examine their reasoning for participation or refusal. Researchers also ask families about their understanding of the trial to ensure they were properly informed before giving consent.

“We have learned so much about the ability for families to simultaneously cope and communicate when faced with a life-threatening situation at birth,” said Havrilla. “Our hope is to create a more informative decision-making environment that fosters feelings of respect with parents of critically ill neonates while improving consenting rates for neonatal clinical trials.”

– by Kelsey Herbers

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