Advancing paediatric surgery through education and research

Paediatric Surgical Trainees Research Network (PSTRN)

TRiPS logo

Who Are We?

Chloe Milton (co-ordinator)

The Paediatric Surgical Trainees Research Network (PSTRN) is UK-based and consists of trainees who are passionate about high quality, collaborative, and importantly trainee-led research. George Bethell in Southampton is the current chair of the core committee that provides support, guidance and practical input for ongoing projects. They are supported by a consultant advisory group, an ever-expanding network of core trainees and registrars, BAPS and the Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT). They meet virtually once a month to discuss current projects and new ideas.

The PSTRN develops and delivers research from within the group, but can also support external collaborative projects. All PSTRN publications are published under collaborative group authorship so all contributors are recognised, and are PubMed citable.

Their recent publications include a survey on the management of paediatric Blunt Liver and Spleen Trauma (BLAST), published in the European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery (1) and a report of inter-rater agreement of serial radiographs to identify non-progression of ingested multiple magnets in children, published in The Archives of Disease in Childhood (2).

There are several active projects, which include trainees of all grades, from medical students to post CCT fellows. These include:

  • VACPA – Prospective audit of Vascular Access in Complicated Paediatric Appendicitis.

This study started in July 2023 and is open to all general surgical and specialist paediatric surgical centres in the UK and Ireland. It is an audit of current practice against the GIRFT abdominal pain pathway with a secondary aim of determining patient and disease related factors associated with need for central venous access at time of appendicectomy.

There is a named trainee at each centre entering data for this but please keep identifying patients that have complicated appendicitis to them so that they can be included.

We are also looking for an interested trainee from a small number of centres who have not signed up yet.These centres are Cambridge, Cardiff, Hull, Newcastle and Sheffield. Please let George Bethell ([email protected]) know if you are at any of these centres and are able to help with data collection.

  • DEFECTdetailed description of diaphragmatic defects in CDH, method of closure and outcomes.

This study reports the anatomy encountered in CDH and the different repair methods  used and has been collecting data for over a year. We have reached our recruitment target and will collect follow-up data up to 1 year (March 2024).

Initial results were shared at the BAPS annual congress (2023) as an oral presentation and we look forward to sharing the results with 1 year follow-up in due course.

Please can all centres keep adding follow-up data for infants including in this until 1 year follow-up has been reached.

  • OPERA – Multicentre retrospective study investigating the management and outcomes of paediatric achalasia.

This study aims to report treatment method and outcomes retrospectively for all children treated for achalasia. We are looking for a trainee at each centre to collect these data.

  • PAC (Post-Appendiectomy Collections)– Multicentre, prospective study of the management of post-appendicectomy collections in children.

The PAC study has been running in most centres for almost a year now. It will describe current patterns of practice across the UK and outcomes of treatment of collections post appendicectomy. Additionally, it will identify factors that may influence the success of one method of treatment over another.

We are always happy to welcome new members. For more information, please visit our website, our Instagram (@pstrnuk), our twitter (@pstrnuk) or email us at [email protected].


  1. Paediatric Surgery Trainee Research Network. The Blunt Liver and Spleen Trauma (BLAST) audit: national survey and prospective audit of children with blunt liver and spleen trauma in major trauma centres. Eur J Trauma Emerg Surj. 2023; 49: 2249-2256.


  1. Paediatric Surgery Trainee Research Network (PSTRN). Inter-rater agreement of serial radiographs to identify non-progression of ingested multiple magnets in children (letter). Arch Dis Child. 2023 Sep 22:archdischild-2023-325318. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2023-325318. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37739765.

Curated by Mark Davenport,

[email protected] December 2023



Page published:
Page updated: