Health Sciences

Cardiorespiratory Research Group

The Physiotherapy Cardiorespiratory Research Group at ACU has broad research interests ranging from neonates through to adults, to investigate the impact of commonly used respiratory physiotherapy interventions and the evaluation of novel devices to monitor respiratory function (within acute care and chronic care).  This includes the evaluation of the impact of various physiotherapeutic interventions on lung function and patient outcomes.  With our clinical health partners we are also exploring the various modes of delivery of undergraduate physiotherapy education including simulation.

The research within the Physiotherapy Cardiorespiratory Research Group (PCRRG) at ACU falls within 5 themes:
•    Monitoringthe distribution of ventilationin neonates.  
•    Secretion retention in intubated and ventilated patients: detection and clearance.
•    Flow bias generated during physiotherapy and ventilation
•    Diagnostic thoracic ultrasound
•    Modes of delivery of physiotherapy education including simulation.

Associate Professor George Ntoumenopoulos (View Staff Profile)
Dr Judy Hough (View Staff Profile)
Dr Lyndal Maxwell (View Staff Profile)
Jenny Murphy (View Staff Profile)

Higher Degree Research Students:
Bronagh McAlinden (MPhil)
Carly Hollier (PhD)
Cath Johnson (PhD)

Research Associates:
Mater Research Institute – University of QueenslandPaediatric Critical Care Research Group (PCCRG), Mater Health Services

  • Dr Andreas Schibler
  • Dr Luregn Schlapbach

Critical Care of the Newborn Program (CCNB), Mater Research

  • Dr Luke Jardine
  • Andrew Shearman

Departments of Physiotherapy and Critical Care, St Vincents Hospital

  • Dr Priya Nair
  • Dr Hergen Buscher

Hospital Clinic and IDIBAPS, Barcelona

  • Dr GianluigiBassi
  • Dr Dani Marti

Commercial Collaborators:

  • Biovo Medical
  • Smiths Medical
  • Australian Institute of Ultrasound
  • Fisher & Paykel Healthcare


Current Research Projects:

The critically ill adult

  • The diagnosis of secretion retention in the intubated and mechanically ventilated patient using a novel technique
  • The effects of manual and ventilator lung hyperinflation on air flow bias and mucus movement
  • The use of early mobility and novel interventions in the intubated and mechanically ventilated patient
  • The use of novel devices to maintain endotracheal tube patency

The critically ill infant/neonate

  • The impact of high flow nasal oxygen therapy on the distribution of ventilation in neonates
  • Humidified nasal high flow oxygen therapy for infants with respiratory dysfunction
  • The impact of body position and chest physiotherapy on ventilation distribution and outcomes in paediatrics and neonates
  • The use of electrical impedance tomography to assess lung function pre and post congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • HiSigh: Does the addition of intermittent sigh breaths when compared to standard high frequency ventilation improve end expiratory lung volume measured by electrical impedance tomography?
  • Assessment of lung de-recruitment with endotracheal suction

Cardiorespiratory physiotherapy education

  • The impact of the use of simulation in undergraduate physiotherapy education.

Planned Projects:
1.    Current research interests are to investigate the impact of oxygen therapy on obesity hypoventilation
2.    Evaluation of novel devices to support respiratory function in chronic respiratory disease.
3.    Team collaboration – US teaching undergraduate
4.    Simulation projects – cardiorespiratory competency training – simulation impact on clinical expectations, confidence, learning, QLD health comparison PAC man QLD health NSW health where no PAC man
5.    Saline instillation and suctioning
        a.    Barcelona – swine model
        b.    Mixed methods paper systematic review and qualitative/opinion – student – MPhil/PhD
        c.    VAP and neonates – before and after evaluation ETT occlusions, VAP, CXR, intervention frequency (VAC)
        d.    Closed suctioning vs open suctioning