Led by Prof Heather Elphick at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

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Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Heather was appointed as consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine in 2008. She was awarded her MD on non-invasive respiratory measurements in wheezing children in 1999 from Sheffield University and trained in respiratory medicine at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Melbourne Children’s Hospital, Australia. She is lead consultant for the respiratory service at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and her particular clinical interests are in sleep medicine and long-term ventilation.

She has a strong track record in research and was awarded a Visiting Professorship with Sheffield Hallam University in 2014 in recognition of her collaborative work in research and innovation. She has been awarded NIHR i4i grants as principal investigator for development of innovative technologies in children with chronic disease: the Contactless Portable Respiratory Monitor (CPRM) and custom-made interfaces for children using non-invasive ventilation. She has collaborated on other nationally funded multi-centre clinical projects including the PLEASANT asthma study and screening for OSA in children with Down syndrome.  She is currently clinical partner the Asthma + me project funded by SBRI Healthcare and the Sheffield Sleeping Well project funded by the Health Foundation. Heather is respiratory and sleep theme lead on the TITCH network and the NIHR collaborative CYP-TECH, promoting the development of technology for children’s health.

About Respiratory…

Development of custom-made interfaces for children using Non-Invasive ventilation (NIV) – funded by NIHR i4i. Bespoke solutions using 3D imaging and printing technology are under development in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, Devices for Dignity Med-tech Co-operative  and Materialise Ltd. Clinical trials of the prototype are taking place later this year.

Contactless Portable Respiratory Monitor (CPRM) – funded by NIHR i4i and The Children’s Hospital Charity. A hand-held, non-contact prototype device for measuring respiratory rate in children has been developed and evaluated in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University and University of Sheffield.

Activ8rlives’ technology to support self-care in children with asthma  – funded by SBRI Healthcare, led by Aseptika Ltd. A self-care solution with adherence monitoring and educational support is under development and clinical trials at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. This is building on the STAR asthma adherence project (Morton RW, Elphick HE et al. Thorax 2017) which demonstrated that adherence to asthma medication resulted in fewer courses of oral steroids and fewer hospital admissions.

Thermal imaging, in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University. Thermal imaging has been shown in a series of PhD projects at SHU to be an accurate method of measuring respiratory rate. Sophisticated algorithms have been developed to accommodate head movement which have improved the method’s accuracy. A further application in respiratory medicine is evaluation of airflow in children with apnoeas and this work is underway, funded by the Children’s Hospital Charity.

About Sleep…

“Sheffield Sleeping Well” project, in collaboration with Sheffield city Council and The Children’s Sleep Charity-  funded by the Health Foundation. The project was an evaluation of a behavioural sleep intervention in children, many of whom were only getting 4-5 hours’ sleep a night. The main findings were that parents felt empowered to help their child; the mean increase in total sleep time was 2.4 hours per night and parental wellbeing significantly improved. The “Sleepy Fox” App is under development by Elaros Ltd, funded by SBRI Healthcare. This App mimics the face to face behavioural sleep intervention for children and empowers parents to self-manage their child’s sleep problems. Further development, validation work and trials are planned.

The Paediatric Narcolepsy Project and the Paediatric ADHD Sleep Study (PASS) are evaluating the relationship between sleep parameters measured using PSG and cognitive outcomes in these two conditions. Sheffield Children’s Sleep clinic manages a large cohort of children with narcolepsy and cataplexy. A patient and public involvement session produced some themes for development of technological solutions for this patient group.