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Informing future research for kidney patients

Wednesday 27 May 2020

For people who are on haemodialysis, going through their regular treatments three times a week is a slow, exhausting process, that's why the work of Consultant Nephrologist Andrea Viecelli in researching improved outcomes is so important.

Her research at the PA Hospital, funded in part by the PA Research Foundation, centers around validating outcomes measured from over 3000 patients and healthcare professionals around the globe, with a focus on two key areas, with the ultimate goal to have it inform future research and patient care for haemodialysis patients at the PA Hospital, and in hospitals everywhere.

Dr Andrea Viecelli, Nephrologist and researcher with Beryl Quayle (Winifred Merle Memorial Award) and Mr Robert Bowen, PARF Board Chairman

"My research is really about improving outcomes that matter the most to our patients who have to undergo haemodialysis for kidney failure and to focus on ways to implement these outcomes into every single future trial in haemodialysis, to increase our chances and maximize our chances to find successful interventions to improve these outcomes," she said.

"Two of those top, core outcomes as we call them, are fatigue and vascular access function, so the lifeline really that they use for haemodialysis to access their blood stream and to do the treatment.

"Ultimately what we want to achieve is that all researchers who do research in haemodialysis will measure those outcomes because they're considered critically important to our patients, caregivers and health professionals."

With two fatigue studies already conducted at the PA Hospital and at other Australian and international sites, her work in improving fatigue levels in patients has now moved into the trial phase, a trial which thanks to technology is accessible to regional and remote patients.

"We have now moved to an actual clinical trial that we're applying for additional funding to run in Australia, to see whether exercise programs tailored to the patients can improve fatigue on dialysis, where we use this very core outcome," she said.

"It's a very patient driven study and it's going to be presented in app form, so on a mobile device."

With the clinical trial underway, Viecelli's focused more time in the outcome area of vascular access function, which again will see her collaborate with globally.

"That's a larger study (vascular access) because we want to make sure that we can measure vascular access function, which is defined as the rate of vascular access interventions that patients need," she said.

"Thanks to the PA Research Foundation, we've actually been able to involve our Australasian kidney trials network for the operational side of things because it's a huge undertaking to involve currently nine different countries and 11 different sites."

Viecelli is of the belief funding greatly speeds up the research process which means better outcomes for patients and she remains forever grateful to anyone who chooses to support medical research.

"I just want to say that it's absolutely wonderful and I very, very much appreciate their generosity and I really hope that I can show them that it is valued and important to have funding to do this research that will ultimately benefit the patients," she said.

"That's what we all do research for and really have our heart in."

Read more about this research here.