Research - ICCU at Flinders Medical Centre

Both clinical and basic research is encouraged within the ICCU. Regular meetings of the Research Committee are held where current and new research proposals are reviewed. In addition to assisting with a number of research and quality assurance projects, staff are able to help with study design including design of data collection forms and databases.

The Department also has a research laboratory which participates in both basic and clinical studies. It supports Research Higher Degree Candidature for Honours, Masters and PhD work. 

Specific Research Techniques


  • Respiratory mechanics: pneumotachograph and pressure monitoring combined with A-D conversion allow analysis of work of breathing; measurement of pulmonary dead space and respiratory mechanics using a variety of techniques and mathematical models.

  • Echocardiography - Examination of preload, contractility, afterload, diastolic and systolic dysfunctions

  • Lung ultrasonography

  • Biomarkers: flow cytometry, histology and immunoassays provide analysis of blood and bronchoalveolar lavage for potential diagnostic and prognostic markers

  • Quality assurance activities including research into ICU mortality, nutrition, and other prospective observational audits

Laboratory Applied and Basic Research

  • Small animal models (rat, mice, Guinea pig) of acute lung injury (oleic acid, endotoxin, RSV bronchiolitis, acid aspiration, ventilator induced and fluid induced injury)

  • Lung mechanics in small animals. In addition to static V-P curves, mechanics are measured using either forced oscillation to derive elastance, tissue resistance and airway resistance or multiple linear regression analysis

  • Effect of chronic heart failure on lung homeostasis

  • Analysis of surfactant content and composition in humans and rats

  • Isolated perfused rat lung model

  • Quantification of lung and circulating mediators of inflammation and tissue remodelling by immunoassay

  • Examination of molecular regulation with real time RT-PCR

  • In vitro studies with primary cells and cell lines

Current ICCU Research Projects

  • Fluid induced lung injury - role of TRPV4 channels

  • Fluids - indications, physiological effects on cardiorespiratory system (involving both healthy volunteers and patients)

  • Sodium administration, balance and restriction strategies in ICU

  • ARDS lung research involving investing therapeutic option such as hypertonic saline

  • Functional outcomes of the elderly following ICU admission

  • Sleep in ICU patients

  • Alertness levels in health care workers

  • Medical errors (cognitive disposition to respond) in medical trainees 

ANZICS Clinical Trial Group Studies

  • SuDDICU - A cluster randomised controlled trail comparing the effect of using selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) in patients receiving mechanical ventilation in intensive care unit 
  • STARRT-AKI - A prospective randomised trial comparing two different strategies of renal replacement therapy (RRT) initiation in critically ill patients with severe AKI 
  • BLING III - A prospective, phase III randomised controlled trial of continuous beta-lactam infusion compared with intermittent beta-lactam dosing in critically ill patients with sepsis
  • TAME - A phase III randomised, parallel-group trial on targeted therapeutic mild hypercapnia (TTMH) in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients who are receiving mechanical ventilation in intensive care unit

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