Professor Verma is a liver specialist and has been a clinician and researcher for 20 years – 16 of those at the Trust.
She said: “Research is one of the most powerful tools to provide an evidence base to improve patient care, and I have been blessed to have worked with some inspirational Hepatologists in India, the UK and the States throughout my career. My research has helped develop new community models of care for people who use drugs and people who are homeless with hepatitis C, which contributed to the national hepatitis C elimination plan. My research has also improved palliative management of ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen) due to advanced cirrhosis.”
My current study… REDUCe 2
The study’s aim is to assess if palliative long term abdominal drains (which can be done at home) improve quality of life compared to hospital drainage in people with ascites due to advanced cirrhosis.
We hope the study will improve symptom control, quality of life and allow patients to spend more time at home. We have a strong patient and public involvement (PPI) group who have been part of the research since the very beginning – helping to recruit patients to the trial.
More about REDUCe2
Ascites is the most frequent cirrhosis complication, often requiring hospitalisation, and leads to the debilitating condition called refractory ascites, associated with intense pain and breathlessness. Without a liver transplant, refractory ascites has a average life expectancy of between 6-12 months. However, most patients with advanced cirrhosis are not candidates for liver transplantation, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) or the Automated Low Flow Ascites (ALFA) pump. The most common intervention for refractory ascites is hospitalisation every 10-14 days for palliative large volume paracentesis (LVP). This involves an abdominal drain insertion for up to six hours, removal of 5-15 litres of fluid and administration of intravenous human albumin solution.
Liver disease related deaths in England have increased by >250% since 1971. In 2018, liver disease accounted for >10% of deaths in those aged 35-49 years, greater than deaths from suicide/heart disease/breast cancer. Nationally, the COVID pandemic has resulted in a 20% increase in all cause alcohol-related deaths (mostly related to liver disease) in 2020.
Our aim is to optimise palliative management in often vulnerable individuals with refractory ascites due to advanced cirrhosis, thereby resulting in better health-related quality of life (HRQoL).
This study will compare insertion of a palliative tunnelled long-term abdominal drain (LTAD) (Group 1 intervention) to standard of care (Group 2 intervention) large volume paracentesis (LVP) in the management of refractory ascites. Patients will be randomised into one of the 2 groups, then followed-up with fortnightly home visits for 3 months. They will have routine bloods taken and will be asked to complete various questionnaires at the visits. Informal caregivers will also be asked to complete a questionnaire monthly.
The study aims to recruit 310 across 35 sites in England and Scotland. In addition, 30 patients, 20 informal caregivers and 20 Healthcare Professionals will be invited for an optional qualitative interview by Shore-C (University of Sussex) to give their perceptions/perspectives of LTAD and LVP.
- Study design: Multicentre, randomised controlled, intervention trial
- Disease area: Hepatology
- Trial status: Recruiting
- Chief Investigator: Prof Sumita Verma
- Sponsor: University of Sussex
- Funder: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme.
- Start date: May 2022
- End date: January 2027
- Recruitment target: 310
- Summary of study results: N/A
For further information contact: