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UCLan awarded nearly £2 million for collaborative antibiotics research project

Posted on - 31st December, 2023 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Education, Health, Preston Locations, Preston News, UCLan
A lower jaw scan. Pic: UCLan
A lower jaw scan. Pic: UCLan

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) have been awarded nearly £2 million for a collaborative antibiotics research project.

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The £1.87m grant was given by the National Institute for Health Research, to investigate the use of antibiotics after lower jaw surgery.

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East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust’s Professor Panayiotis Kyzas will lead the study, which will recruit 2,907 adult patients across the country who have broken their lower jaws and require surgery to repair the damage.

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Professor Kyzas said: “The aim of this study is to find out if patients having an operation to fix a lower jaw fracture are less likely to get an infection if given antibiotics after their surgery.

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“There are more than 6,000 lower jaw fractures per year in the UK and they are the most common facial fractures needing surgery. Cutting into the mouth to fix these fractures puts the patient at risk of infection, which affects 1 in 10 cases. Infection requires treatment with antibiotics, may need further surgery and can cause long-term jaw pain, jaw malalignment and dysfunction.

“Surgeons give antibiotics at the start of the operation to reduce the chance of an infection. However, research suggests that antibiotics given after surgery may not necessarily reduce the risk of infection in patients with a lower jaw fracture. There is wide variation in current clinical practice and that is why we want to investigate this important area.”

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UCLan’s Clinical Trials Unit will compare three different antibiotic approaches following surgery. One will receive no further antibiotics after surgery, the second will receive two further doses of antibiotics after surgery while the third group will receive two further doses of antibiotics through the vein and five days of oral antibiotics.

Each patient will be followed up 14, 30 and 180 days after surgery and the groups will be assigned at random.

Director of UCLan’s Lancashire Clinical Trials Unit, Professor Dame Caroline Watkins, said: “Reducing and optimising antibiotic use is very important for individual patient health and the wider NHS. Good antibiotic stewardship is critical to reducing antibiotic-related complications and future antibiotic resistance.

“Therefore, this study will try to answer four questions. Does changing the amount of antibiotics that a patient receives after surgery for a mandible fracture change their risk of getting an infection? Is there any difference in the cost of the different antibiotic approaches? How do patients and health professionals feel about a change to current clinical practice? How could we best communicate the findings of the study to make changes to NHS clinical practice in the future?”

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