‘Watch and wait’ approach for collapsed lungs wins 2021 Trial of the Year Award

Professor Diana Egerton-Warburton OAM, Monash Health Director of Emergency Medicine Research

Congratulations to Professor Diana Egerton-Warburton OAM, Monash Health Director of Emergency Medicine Research, for her contributions to a trial that has recently won the 2021 Australian Clinical Trials Alliance Trial of the Year Award.    

Diana was a primary investigator on research that showed that a more conservative or “watch and wait” approach when treating pneumothorax (collapsed lung) in patients had significantly better outcomes for the patient.    

Collaboration was the key to success in this research which also sought involvement from Professor Julian Smith, Monash Health Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery, who was a co-investigator, and Dr Barton Jennings, Monash Health Adult Respiratory and Sleep Physician. 

Traditionally, a collapsed lung would be treated with immediate intervention and put tubes in the patient to drain the chest.    

This research suggests that a more conservative approach is in the patient’s best interest. Implementing the use of simple pain relief, observing them, and then sending them home to await the lung’s natural re-expansion and recovery is the better approach.    

“We are extremely pleased with the results. Not only are we able to get patients back on their feet quicker and back to their daily lives, but they are also less likely to experience a reoccurrence,” said Professor Egerton-Warburton.    

Patients who received the conservative approach experienced shorter hospital stays and fewer adverse events. A total of 85% of patients did exceptionally well with no intervention at all.     

“This was a great example of multidisciplinary research, with a number of teams (emergency medicine, respiratory medicine, cardiothoracic surgery, and clinical trials research staff) working together to get a fantastic result for patients. 

The results of this research demonstrate the ongoing commitment to bettering patient outcomes and creating real changes to patient care.   

Congratulations to Professor Egerton-Warburton for her ongoing contribution to the future of medicine.  

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