Kids Critical Care Research

The Kids’ Critical Care Research group is a team of doctors, nurses and scientists dedicated to improving survival and health outcomes for approximately 1200 critically ill and injured infants and children admitted every year to paediatric intensive care at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Our research focuses on a range of conditions and interventions affecting these patients, with two main aims: improving the diagnosis and early detection of clinical problems, and improving treatments and practice in order to reduce mortality and achieve better patient outcomes.

Our current research interests are pre-hospital assessment of traumatic brain injury, effective administration of intravenous fluid, novel biomarkers for early identification of at-risk heart surgery children, and blood transfusion following congenital heart surgery.

Current projects

A number of research studies are being conducted in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) into various clinical conditions and treatments administered in intensive care. We also contribute data to many collaborative research projects in paediatric intensive care across Australia and New Zealand, as well as internationally.

Current research project highlights include:

  • Randomized control trial of nitric oxide on cardiopulmonary bypass to infants – NHMRC
  • Markers of Low Cardiac Output Syndrome in children after heart surgery
  • Neurodevelopmental outcome of infants following ECMO support
  • The PHANTOM study: Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) tissue oximetry for assessment of traumatic brain injury during retrieval
  • Data linkage study of developmental and educational outcomes in children following PICU discharge

The research team


Dr Jonathan Egan, Staff Specialist and Research Group Leader, email:

Jonathan specialises in the care of critically ill children, including a large proportion of perioperative cardiac surgical patients. His research is focused on heart function and its relationship to heart swelling, and the role of heart cell membranes during states of reduced blood and oxygen supply. Please visit Jonathan's University of Sydney profile page for more information.

> Other Research Team Members

  • Dr Stephen Jacobe, Clinical Associate Professor and Staff specialist
  • Dr Chong-Tien Goh, Associate Clinical Lecturer and Staff specialist
  • Dr Marino Festa, Staff specialist,
  • Dr Gail Harper,Research Coordinator,
  • Dr Nick Pigott, Medical head of Department
  • Dr Corrine Balit, Deputy Medical Head of Department
  • Dr Vishal Jatana, Staff specialist
  • Dr David Schell, Staff specialist
  • Dr Elena Cavazzoni, Staff specialist
  • Dr Robin Choong, Staff specialist
  • Dr Andrea Christoff, Staff specialist
  • Dr Nitesh Singhal, Staff specialist
  • Mrs Rachel Wood, Nursing Head of Department

Key publications


Ethical, Cultural, Social, and Individual Considerations Prior to Transition to Limitation or Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Therapies. Kirsch RE, Balit CR, Carnevale FA, Latour JM, Larcher V.  Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2018 Aug;19(8S Suppl 2):S10-S18.

Goldilocks meets heparin dosing—enough but not too much. J.R. Egan, T. Kilo, D.S. Winlaw.  J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2018 Jul;156(1):341-342

Fluid bolus therapy in critically ill children: a survey of practice among paediatric intensive care doctors in Australia and New Zealand. Gelbart B, Schlapbach L, Ganeshalingham A, Ganu S, Erickson S, Oberender F, Hoq M, Williams G, George S, Festa MCrit Care Resusc. 2018 Jun;20(2):131-138.

Dedicated cardiac intensive care units: Good for the patient, good for the surgeon. Festa M, Winlaw DS. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2018 Jun;155(6):2604-2605.

Outcomes of paediatric critical care asthma patients, N Rampersad, B Wilkins, J.R. Egan. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 54 (2018) Jun;54(6):633-637.

Trends in Mortality in an Australian Teritary Surgical Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Tauro JK, Walker K, Halliday R, Jatana V, Trivedi A, J Neonatal Surg, 2018; 7:4


Maintenance fluid practices in paediatric intensive care units in Australia and New Zealand. Bihari S, Gelbart B, Seppelt I, Thompson K, Watts N, Prakash S, Festa M, Bersten A; The George Institute for Global Health, Crit Care Resusc. 2017 Dec;19(4):310-317.

The intensive care medicine clinical research agenda in paediatrics. Peters MJ, Argent A, Festa M, Leteurtre S, Piva J, Thompson A, Willson D, Tissières P, Tucci M, Lacroix J.  Intensive Care Med. 2017 Sep;43(9):1210-1224.

Contemporary incidence of stroke (focal infarct and/or haemorrhage) determined by neuroimaging and neurodevelopmental disability at 12 months of age in neonates undergoing cardiac surgery utilizing cardiopulmonary bypass.  Verrall CE, Walker K, Loughran-Fowlds A, Prelog K, Goetti R, Troedson C, Julian Ayer, Jonathan Egan, Robert Halliday, Yishay Orr, Gary F. Sholler, Nadia Badawi and David S. Winlaw. CardioVasc Thorac Surg 2017

Humidified high-flow nasal cannula oxygen in bronshiolitis reduces need for invasive ventilation but not intensive care admission. Goh CT, Kirby L, Schell D, Egan JRJ Paediatr Child Health. 2017 Sep;53(9):897-902

Prediction of pediatric sepsis mortality within 1 h of intensive care admission. Schlapbach LJ, MacLaren G, Festa M, Alexander J, Erickson S, Beca J, Slater A, Schibler A, Pilcher D, Millar J, Straney L; Intensive Care Med. 2017 Aug;43(8):1085-1096.

The Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinical Trials Group point prevalence program, 2009-2016. Thompson K, Hammond N, Eastwood G, Festa M, Glass P, Rajbhandari D, Seppelt I, Taylor C, Watts N, Myburgh J, Crit Care Resusc. 2017 Mar;19(1):88-93.


Lack of MG53 in human heart precludes utility as a biomarker of myocardial injury or endogenous cardioprotective factor. Frances A. Lemckert, Adam Bournazos, Daniel M. Eckert, Manuel Kenzler, Joanne M. Hawkes, Tanya L. Butler, Bradley Ceely, Kathryn N. North, David S. Winlaw, Jonathan R. Egan, Sandra T. Cooper. Cardiovasc Res 2016 May 15;110(2):178-87

The Impact of Observed Trauma on Parents in a PICU, S Khanna, JK Finlay, V Jatana, AM Gouffe, S Redshaw, Pediatr Crit Care Med, 2016; 17:e154-e158

Ventilation strategies in paediatric inhalation injury. Goh CT, Jacobe S. Paediatr Respir Rev. 2016 Sep;20:3-9

End-of-life care in the intensive care unit, Myburgh J, Abillama F, Chiumello D, Dobb G, Jacobe S, Kleinpell R, Koh Y, Martin C, Michalsen A, Pelosi P, Torra LB. J Crit Care. 2016 Aug 31;34:125-30.

The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – an Australian Perspective. Kirby L, Ceely B, Duns N, Haddad M, Tegg O, Festa M, Jacobe S. Pediatr Intens Care Nursing 2016; 17 (1)