Respiratory Patient Research Group

We are looking for people who can help us to improve the way we treat patients diagnosed with a Plural Infection

We are looking at a different way to treat patients who have been diagnosed with a plural infection.  We are hoping that this will dramatically reduce the time a patient stays in hospital, and allows the patient to move around freely between procedures.  Our Respiratory team have developed  ‘The ACTion’ trial.  This is a feasibility (test) trial to assess whether a full-scale trial would be possible, safe and acceptable for patients. The team have already had feedback from patients who have had a pleural infection to get their initial input on improving the way the trial is carried out.


Take Part Be Involved in Research

How you can help

We would like a member of the public to be part of  the ‘ACTion’ trial study meetings.  You can have a very different perspective to health professionals, and your input will help to keep the patient at the heart of everything we do.
The meetings are due to take place in November this year, February and August 2020.
The meetings usually take no more than 2 hours and will take place at Southmead Hospital.

It will Involve

  • Reading and feeding back on our new written patient information sheets, so that we can make sure they are easy to understand by the patients who are taking part in the research study.
  • Talking about the project in more detail with our research team.
  • Ensuring that we are putting the patient at the centre of everything we do
  • Access to email would also be helpful.

We will provide Love to Shop vouchers as a thank you as well as reimbursement of travel expenses.

For further information, you can either ring Sharon Nolan 0117 41 49337



Why we are doing this trial.

When people get chest infections, fluid can sometimes build up around the lung. This is called a pleural effusion. In about 1 in 10 cases, the fluid itself becomes infected, this is called pleural infection. Pleural infection is usually treated by removing the infected fluid, and using antibiotics to mop up the left-over infection. The most common method to remove the fluid is to insert a chest tube (about 6mm across) through the chest wall, to allow fluid to drain into a collection bottle. This tube stays in until all the fluid has come out, which is usually between 3-5 days, although it can be much longer. The drain can be sore, and prevents people moving around normally. Patients need to stay in hospital whilst the drain is in position. The average hospital stay for pleural infection is 13 days, placing a significant burden on patients, their families, and the health service.

An alternative to chest tube drainage is a procedure called therapeutic thoracentesis (TT). This involves inserting a smaller (3mm) tube into the fluid and drawing off as much as possible, over 20 minutes or so, before removing the tube. This can be repeated if the fluid builds up again. This method allows patients to move around freely between procedures and even be managed out of hospital. However, we do not know whether TT might mean it takes longer for the infection to fully clear. Although some hospitals in Europe use TT for pleural infection, no studies have ever directly compared chest tubes to TT. 
The ACTion trial is a feasibility (test) trial to assess whether a full-scale trial would be possible, safe and acceptable for patients. Before starting, we will involve patients who have had pleural infection to get their input on improving the trial design and processes.
In the trial, information will be collected on all patients who are admitted to Southmead hospital with pleural infection. Provided they don’t have a particularly complicated pleural infection they will be invited to take part. Thirty participants will be randomly allocated to have either chest tube or TT. Information on hospital stay and quality of life will be collected. However, the main outcome will be whether a full-scale trial would be possible (were participants willing to take part). We will also be interviewing patients and health professionals who took part to get their opinions on the trial processes and any possible improvements.

Contact Research & Innovation

Research & Innovation
North Bristol NHS Trust
Floor 3, Learning & Research Centre
Southmead Hospital
Bristol, BS10 5NB

Telephone: 0117 4149330