Internet Explorer is no longer supported by Microsoft. To browse the NIHR site please use a modern, secure browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

Landmark clinical trial launched to tackle chest infections in children with neurological impairments

Published: 05 July 2022

A new landmark £2.3m NIHR-funded clinical trial has launched in the UK to find out whether long-term antibiotic treatment can reduce the impact that chest infections have on children with neurological impairment. 

The PARROT trial is a joint UK and Australia clinical trial, led in the UK by researchers from the University of Liverpool and Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. 

In the UK, there are large numbers of children with neurological impairments caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome. Many are prone to chest infections, which can result in prolonged stays in hospital and even premature death.

Despite their impact on children, their families and health services, there is very little information on how best to prevent these repeated chest infections. Some doctors prescribe long-term antibiotics, but it is unclear whether this treatment makes any difference or not.

The PARROT trial is the largest ever trial involving this group of children and aims to recruit 500 children and young people aged 3-17 years with neurological impairment who are at risk of repeated chest infections. Each participant will be involved for a maximum of 20 months. Participants will be split into two groups, one will receive an antibiotic called azithromycin and the other control group will receive a placebo.

The trial aims to find out whether a 12-month treatment with azithromycin affects rates of hospital visits, infections, GP and A&E visits, prescriptions, the treatment of infections, and quality of life of both parent and child. To make it easier for families, follow-up assessments can be done remotely so families can complete study questionnaires at home and collect respiratory swabs themselves.

The PARROT trial was funded through the NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme (£2.3m) and Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) ($1.4million). 

More information on the study is available on NIHR’s Funding and Awards website, and on the study website.

Latest news