NIHR clinical lectureship award for Dr Sam Irving

23 January 2018

Dr Sam Irving, paediatric research physiologist at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, has been awarded an HEE/NIHR ICA lectureship for her study looking at the use of the multiple-breath washout (MBW) measure in children with CF and other respiratory diseases.

MBW involves the patient breathing in and out normally into a machine that analyses how evenly the lung ventilates. The results of the test will show up infection, inflammation and any other damage. 

Currently, the most common method used for measuring ventilation for MBW is lung clearance index (LCI). This is usually used for patients with cystic fibrosis (CF).

Dr Irving’s research study will investigate whether other methods of measuring ventilation, in addition to LCI, might be useful for some patients. The study will also determine if MBW is as effective in children with other lung conditions such as asthma, primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) and non-CF bronchiectasis.

If her study shows that MBW provides useful information for other respiratory conditions, then it will have the potential to become the first-line assessment of the small airways in these children, preventing the need for further invasive or radiological procedures.

This could also lead to considerable cost savings as MBW is a cheaper test compared to the alternatives currently available, not to mention the potential to reduce the pain and stress young children and their families are exposed to. 

On winning the award, Dr Irving said: "I'm really delighted to have this opportunity to focus on my research. Many of these techniques have not been assessed clinically before, and I think they have the potential to bring real benefits to our patients. I'm also very grateful for all the help I received in putting this application together from my colleagues in the paediatric respiratory department and the research office."

Dr Irving is very active in research and is currently coaching on the Researcher Development Programme, which supports nurses, allied health professionals and healthcare scientists to learn more about all aspects of research. The course is run by Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, a partnership between Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. 

Laura Henderson, research development manager for the Trust, said: “We are thrilled to hear of Dr Irving’s deserved success in securing funding for her clinical lectureship.  As an allied health professional, Dr Irving embodies this research group and will, through this award, continue to encourage and inspire her professional colleagues on their own unique research pathways.”

If you would like to find out more about any of the research mentioned in this story or any other research at the Trust please email us.