Case Study

Hobart Method Goes Global

When babies are born prematurely their lungs have not developed, often leading to respiratory distress and more serious complications. It had been normal practice to pass a breathing tube into the windpipe to assist with breathing and to administer a chemical called surfactant via the breathing tube to open the airway. But nowadays the breathing tube has been replaced with ‘prongs’ which deliver oxygen directly into the babies nostrils. The challenge with the new method is how to administer surfactant with the absence of a breathing tube.

Professor Peter Dargaville, Director of the Neonatal and Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Hobart Hospital has benefited from the RHH Research Foundation clinical grant funding in 2011 and 2012 and also a further grant funded by the MyState Foundation in 2012. This early neonate study has been successful in building research capacity for Professor Dargaville’s current NHMRC funded research which is pioneering a new method of administering surfactant to premature babies.

Dubbed the Hobart Method, through Professor Dargaville’s new technique, surfactant is administered using a minimally invasive tube. The goal for this research is that by administering surfactant treatment babies will not require full ventilation or experience any other complications.
Global trials are now being conducted in over 50 centres worldwide.

The hope for the future is that the Hobart Method will become part of standard care of infants worldwide. Incredible potential for research which, in its infancy, was funded by the RHH Research Foundation.

January 2015


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