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‘Exciting innovation’ offers hope to patients undergoing kidney dialysis

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 July 2020

Dr Rashid Akhtar, Rob Jones, Dr Ounali Jaffer and Mr Rajesh Sivaprakasam. Picture: Barts

Dr Rashid Akhtar, Rob Jones, Dr Ounali Jaffer and Mr Rajesh Sivaprakasam. Picture: Barts

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A lifesaving operation has taken place that could reduce deaths and infection risks in patients undergoing kidney dialysis.

Ronald from Forest Gate is the first to undergo the procedure outside of a trial setting in the UK. Picture: BartsRonald from Forest Gate is the first to undergo the procedure outside of a trial setting in the UK. Picture: Barts

Experts at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel carried out the new minimally invasive procedure on Ronald Eloi, from Forest Gate, for the first time outside of a trial setting.

Ronald has become the first patient to benefit from the ground-breaking, minimally invasive arteriovenous fistula (AVF) procedure which is known as WavelinQ EndoAVF.

The 58-year-old, who has had end-stage kidney failure for two years, is awaiting a transplant and for the past 18 months has been receiving peritoneal dialysis which involves inserting a catheter into the abdomen.

Dialysis is used by 30,000 renal patients across the UK. It removes waste and excess fluid from the blood when the kidneys stop working properly. It often involves channelling blood to a machine for cleaning.

Ronald said: “My kidneys were pretty bad, and they definitely needed replacing. I could hardly walk. I lost a lot of weight and was down to about 55 kg. I didn’t think I was going to make it.”

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Peritoneal dialysis kept him alive and healthy, but with a limited shelf life it was uncertain how much longer that kind of dialysis was feasible.

But the WavelinQ EndoAVF means Ronald can switch from to haemodialysis – where the blood passes into the dialysis machine through a tube in the arm – continuing the lifesaving treatment.

The operation left no scars and required only a local anaesthetic. Ronald was discharged on the same day.

He said: “All I have left is two little marks near the wrist, but you hardly ever notice. It’s excellent surgery.”

The procedure is an alternative to the more invasive option of open surgery.

Dialysis can also be done through a small plastic tube inserted into one of the large veins, but that method has been shown to be riskier than dialysis through an AVF.

The EndoAVF system was carried out by Dr Ounali Jaffer, Dr Rashid Akhtar and Mr Rajesh Sivaprakasam at the Royal London, run by Barts Health NHS Trust. Dr Jaffer said: “These are early days, but the innovation is exciting and will hopefully benefit a number of our population with end stage kidney disease.”


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