Melbourne researchers have performed innovative world-first kidney surgery to cure a unique combination of medical conditions in a 10-year-old boy.
Young patient Matthew Gaythorpe is thought to be the only person in the world born with Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease, Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis (ARPKD/CHF) and Narcolepsy.
The rare combination of conditions means that Matthew’s case presents unique challenges, mainly around his kidneys, blood pressure and heart rate.
Suffering severe hypertension his entire life and after suffering a minor stroke last year, Matthew takes around 30 medications every day.
In a highly experimental procedure that had never before been performed on a paediatric patient, Monash Heart director Professor Ian Meredith, from Monash University’s Department of Medicine and a team at Southern Health worked with a company in the United States to custom-build medical equipment for Matthew’s small kidneys.
“Using innovative Radio Frequency technology, we were able to effectively ‘zap’ some of the nerves and tissue surrounding Matthew’s renal arteries,” Professor Meredith said.
“This has resulted in a noticeable reduction in Matthew’s symptoms and blood pressure.”
As Matthew possesses relatively rare ‘double-artery’ kidneys, he faced the prospect of daily dialysis, a kidney-liver transplant or even another stroke.
Professor Meredith’s determination to gain approval for the world-first procedure has given hope that Matthew’s quality of life will improve and that severe long-term consequences have been averted.
(Source: Monash University)
For more information on kidney cancer, including types and treatment, see Kidney Cancer.