Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children 2nd Highest Recruiter in the UK for the CONTRACT 2 Trial

March 28, 2024

Our Child Health Research team based at Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children are the 2nd highest recruiter in the UK for the CONTRACT 2 Trial.


CONTRACT 2: Conservative Treatment of Appendicitis in Children – a randomised controlled Trial aims to directly compare two very different treatments for appendicitis in children. Appendicectomy is considered the gold standard treatment for acute appendicitis by most surgeons and involves an operation to remove the appendix. Although appendicectomy is usually a simple procedure, it requires a general anaesthetic and there are other risks associated with surgery.


Many parents find the idea that their child needs emergency surgery frightening and one they are keen to avoid if an alternative is available. An alternative approach to the treatment of children with acute appendicitis would be with antibiotics and no appendicectomy. Although research to date has confirmed that most children with uncomplicated acute appendicitis can be successfully treated without surgery, there have been no randomised controlled trials (RCTs) reported that directly compare these two very different treatments.


This trial will randomise between Standard Care Appendicectomy or the Non-operative Treatment Pathway (antibiotics and active observation). Patients will be recruited from up to 15 Children’s hospitals and followed up for 12 months after randomisation. The study is sponsored by the University of Southampton and funded by the NIHR HTA programme.


The study has currently recruited 153 participants over 15 sites in the UK. With our very own Belfast site placing 2nd in overall recruitment, only behind Bristol Royal Hospital.


CONTRACT 2 newsletter for March 2024, Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, University of Southampton


Outstanding work from our Child Health Clinical Research Nurses Eileen, Kerry, Olwen, Roberta and Samantha and PI Dr Suzanna Lawther.


If you would like to know more about this study in Belfast Trust Contact:


Find out more about the Southampton Clinical Trials unit here: