Researcher Profile: Dr Thomas Painter | RAH Research Fund
Researcher Profiles 28 September 2018

Researcher Profile: Dr Thomas Painter

World-wide, more than 300 million people undergo surgery each year. Surgery and recovery from the procedure places a lot of stress on the human body. Senior Staff Specialist Anaesthetist, Dr Thomas Painter 
and the team at the Department 
of Anaesthesia are investigating 
how treatments can influence 
care and post-operative recovery.

What is the focus of your 
current research?
We are involved in three major trials: the PADDI trial which is examining the role and safety of a drug commonly used to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery, the ITACS trial which is examining the role of intravenous iron replacement in patients having heart surgery who are anaemic, and the ROCKET trial which is looking at a common pain medication, ketamine, to see if it is effective at reducing persistent pain after surgery. I have been very honoured to have been appointed the National Leader for Australia and New Zealand for the upcoming POISE-3 trial. This is a very large trial (10,000 patients) that is being run from Canada looking at how blood pressure is managed around the time of major surgery and also at a medication to reduce bleeding after surgery. We are sure to be very busy.

What do you enjoy most 
about your work?
I really enjoy working with my research team for such a clear and common goal. Most of all I love chatting to patients, and am constantly thrilled by the enthusiasm that the people of South Australia have for this work. The most common thing I hear when I approach a patient about a research project is: “If this will help others, then I am only too happy to be part of it”.

What are some major milestones?
Without doubt, the most exciting part about any research project is the when the results are revealed, usually at one of the big national anaesthesia meetings. This means we can go back to our colleagues and spread the news. Our unit at the RAH has consistently been in the top five recruitment sites internationally for all the trials we have been involved with over the past 10 years. This gives us great certainty that our information is highly relevant to South Australians.

How important is the 
RAH Research Fund?
Although trials are often funded by large national funding agencies, they are by necessity very big trials and sometimes the money gets spread quite thinly. Organisations like the RAH Research Fund can provide unique and very important opportunities to help supplement this funding and keep the projects on track, on time and relevant to the people they have been designed to help.

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