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Department of Critical Care Medicine Research

As a commitment to continuous improvement for the critically ill, the Department of Critical Care Medicine actively promotes high-quality research

  • We are constantly attempting to improve patient care; this is an ongoing process. With modern intensive care, most patients now survive but there are some conditions that remain very difficult to treat. In order to improve the care for every patient, we need to carry out research in ways that will help determine which treatments are most effective, both immediately and long term.
  • The Treaty of Waitangi acts as a mandate for the good health of all New Zealanders and health research is an integral part of this. Research involves nurses, doctors, pharmacists, dieticians, and physiotherapists.
  • Maori will be offered the same opportunities as non-Maori to participate in research and benefit from the results. Achieving a Nation that manifests equity and fairness will benefit the whole of Aotearoa and the  right to collective wellbeing
  • Intensive care studies can include any and every aspect of the patients’ critical care journey: e.g. life-threatening infections (“sepsis”), traumatic brain injury, nutrition when unable to eat normally, artificial ventilation (“lung injury or illness”), resuscitation drugs and intravenous fluids, antibiotics, sedation, treatment for bleeding risks after trauma, and many observational audits/studies examining current practice.  
  • You may be approached by a doctor or research nurse asking if you think your relative/whānau member /close friend would possibly likely participate in a research study.  Observational studies or audits of practice, which do not identify individuals, may not always require consent.
  • Some studies compare two commonly used drugs or treatments, and the drug/treatment should start as soon as possible.  For these the New Zealand Health and Disability Ethics Committee may have approved enrolling before asking consent, but with the patient or their relative/friend /whānau being approached with information later (as soon as appropriate).  If this is the case, we would ask consent to continue participation in the study, for data collection and (often) telephone follow-up.
  • Participation in research is voluntary. The care your relative/whānau/friend receives will not be affected whether or not they or you choose to participate in a research study. They may withdraw at any time without affecting current and future care. Privacy will be protected with most data used in studies de-identified and he/she won’t be identified in any reports.
  • All research in this Department has prior approval from New Zealand Health and Disability Ethics Committee, the Auckland DHB Research Committee, the Māori Research Review and Ministry of Health.
  • If you or your relative/friend/whānau wish to talk to someone outside the department, you can contact an independent health and disability advocate. Tel: 0800 555 050; email
  • If you require Māori cultural support please talk to your whānau in the first instance. Alternatively, you may contact the administrator for He Kamaka Waiora (Māori Health Team) by telephoning 09 4868324 ext 23243.
  • If you have any questions or complaints about a research study you may contact the Te Whatu Ora | Te Toka Tumai Auckland and Te Whatu Ora | Waitematā Maori Research Committee or Advisor, tel. 09 4868920 ext 3204
  • The Department of Critical Care Medicine is affiliated with the Australia and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinical Trials Group, and to the University of Auckland.
  • We welcome your comments and questions. Please ask the receptionist or your relative/whānau/friend’s nurse to speak to one of the research nurses in the Department of Critical Care Medicine. You can also discuss specific studies with your relative/whanau member’s intensive care doctor.

Current research studies

Our current research portfolio:


A randomised controlled trial of continuous beta-lactam infusion compared with intermittent beta-lactam dosing in critically ill patients.  More information can be found here


Study looking into the best fluid for patients who have received a renal transplant.


Pre-hospital treatment with tranexamic acid for severely injured patients at risk of acute traumatic coagulopathy.
More information can be found here.


Saline vs Plasma-Lyte for critically ill patients in ICU.
More information can be found in the participant information leaflet and also the study protocol.


Research study looking into the best way to treat infection in the lungs (pneumonia).
More information can be found here.


The TEAM study will test whether early activity and mobilisation is better in a large randomised controlled trial of 750 ICU patients. Eligible patients will be randomised to receive either early or standard  (usual care) activity and mobilisation.


A study comparing two different blood levels of carbon dioxide in patients who have had a cardiac arrest.  It may be that having a higher carbon dioxide level in the blood may be the best way to reduce brain damage after cardiac arrest, however we need to do a study to show if this is true.


This study is to determine whether, in critically ill patients with bloodstream infection, 7 days antibiotic treatment achieves the same outcomes compared to 14 days antibiotic treatment.


A Study comparing the conventional approach to control high blood glucose (‘sugar in the blood’) to a more liberal approach for patients with pre-existing diabetes.

Previous research results


A study looking into the effect of sustained prophylactic hypothermia in severe traumatic brain injury.  Published results can be found here.


A study comparing the energy dense versus routine enteral nutrition.  Published results can be found here.


This is a study looking at two approaches to oxygen therapy in patients on a breathing machine. Results are due to be published in the near future.


Looking at the timing to initiate renal replacement therapy for patients with severe acute kidney injury. More information can be found here.


A comparison of two sedation treatments in intensive care: dexmedetomidine versus usual care sedation.  Published results from the NEJM can be found here.


A study to see how effectively hydrocortisone works in patients with severe infection and shock.  Published results in the NEJM can be found here.


Looking at the effect of recombinant human soluble Thrombomodulin on sepsis-associated Coagulopathy. Published results are available.