Premature babies in Lincolnshire are taking part in a national clinical research study

Some of the county’s youngest hospital patients are talking part in a national clinical research study.

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The BASE study is comparing two ways of caring for premature babies who have a condition called metabolic acidosis. This is when there is a build-up of acid in the blood. Many babies that are born very prematurely will experience metabolic acidosis during their hospital stay.

Sodium bicarbonate is often used when a baby has metabolic acidosis. Some doctors believe that giving sodium bicarbonate lowers acid levels in the blood and helps the working of the heart, but others believe sodium bicarbonate raises acid levels inside the cells of the body which can affect blood flow to the brain and other organs in the body.

Both giving and not giving sodium bicarbonate when a baby has metabolic acidosis is standard care and varies between different hospitals around the UK. The reason practice differs widely is because the use of sodium bicarbonate to treat metabolic acidosis in preterm babies has never been properly studied.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is proud to be taking part in the study at Lincoln and Pilgrim hospitals. Paediatrics Consultant Dr Michael Jiki is part of the team that cares for premature babies. He is also the Trust’s principal investigator for the study.

He said: “We are keen to develop a culture of research study within paediatrics at the Trust. Research is so important to better understand medical conditions and we are proud to be taking part in this study which will determine future treatments for our youngest patients.

“Parents of babies who are eligible to participate in the BASE study will be asked whether or not they would like their baby to be included in the study and their decision recorded in their baby’s medical record and through the research process.”

All babies taking part will be put into one of two groups; to routinely be given sodium bicarbonate when they have metabolic acidosis or to not routinely be given sodium bicarbonate when they have metabolic acidosis.

If parents agree for their baby to take part then most of the data needed as part of the study will be collected directly from hospital records. Then when the child is two years old, the parents will be asked to complete a questionnaire about their development.

More information about the BASE study is available on its website: BASE | NPEU (