The AEGIS study is a feasibility trial that aims to evaluate the viability of using ibuprofen to treat pain after a major gut surgery, meaning that researchers will investigate whether doctors and patients would be willing to take part in this study.

Bowel Research UK is delighted to collaborate with the researchers conducting this research at Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, by providing patient and public involvement (PPI) support.

Using ibuprofen to treat pain after major gut surgery

Up to 50,000 NHS patients undergo major gut surgery annually, which is known to be one of the most painful types of surgery. Any kind of movement involving the abdomen, such as coughing and breathing, can cause surgical wound pain.

Patients who underwent major gut surgery stated that the pain relief they received was insufficient. They also conveyed that hospital staff did not prioritise their pain management as much as they would have preferred.

Despite ibuprofen being commonly used for pain treatment, it is only offered to approximately one in five patients after gut surgery. Concerns about potential side effects, such as gastric ulcers, poor gut healing, and kidney damage, contribute to this limited usage. However, evidence linking ibuprofen as the primary cause of these side effects in post-surgical patients is lacking.

Why is a study like this needed?

One in three patients experience severe pain after their major gut surgery. This causes lasting distress and delays in recovery periods, making it difficult to eat, sleep and walk leading to longer stays in hospitals which can strain the NHS further.

A large clinical trial is needed to show the potential of ibuprofen in reducing pain after a gut surgery, without causing any severe side effects. If this is successful, it would help patients recover faster and return home sooner.

But for this to take place, a smaller ‘feasibility trial’ must take place, to gauge whether doctors and patients are willing to take part in the first place.

How will the study be conducted?

Researchers will look at 200 adult patients who have had major gut surgery in 10 NHS hospitals, finding out how many patients choose not to participate and why. They will then interview patients and doctors to understand their views on the study.

The team will also explore whether patients from under-represented groups are able to participate. After the recruitment process is complete, they will randomly allocate patients to usual pain relief either with, or without ibuprofen.

Data gathered from this smaller study will be crucial to determining how large the main trial should be.

Read more about our People and Research Together programme.

If you’re interested in learning more about the AEGIS study, contact our PPI Manager at sam@bowelresearchuk.org

This trial has been funded by the NIHR RfPB (Research for Patient Benefit) funding stream.