Oct 15, 2016 News
The possibility of Guyana being the Caribbean hub for kidney transplants is not a ‘pipe dream’. At least this is according to local Kidney Transplant Surgeon, Dr. Kishore Persaud.
It has been almost two years since Dr. Persaud has taken over the reins of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC’) Nephrology Department. Nephrology is the branch of medicine that deals with the physiology and diseases of the kidneys.
Dr. Persaud, who studied Medicine at the University of Guyana, completed his kidney transplant fellowship at the University of Calgary in Canada. He is currently ably supported by a Chinese Nephrologist to head the Nephrology Department.
Dr. Persaud, during a recent interview, said that his hope is to help develop GPHC into a transplant centre for the Caribbean. He anticipates that the local hospital will be able to not only offer transplants to Guyanese but even persons within the Caribbean at a cheap cost.
Dr. Persaud has already shared ambitious plans for the department he heads. However its realisation would require substantial funding that would more than likely come from the State’s coffers.
The Kidney Surgeon has been in the employ of the GPHC for about two years and has already completed three successful kidney transplant surgeries.
Although one of the three patients has since passed on because of a lung infection which was deemed unrelated to the kidney surgery, Dr. Persaud has been able to give two other persons a new lease on life.
Among them is a 15-year-old student who is currently preparing to write 13 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects next year.
Kidney transplant surgeries are conducted free of cost at the GPHC. However, patients, once they have a suitable donor, are expected to meet the approximately $1million cost to have tests done ahead of surgery. This money is not paid to the GPHC but rather a Miami University which conducts the tests.
“We do not handle the money, the patient takes that money to the bank and sends it to the university…they are not paying anybody here. They pay for the test and we do the surgery for free,” asserted Dr. Persaud.
Arrangements are currently being made for approximately four or five surgeries to be conducted before Christmas, the Transplant Surgeon disclosed.
There are two types of kidney failure – chronic and acute. And according to Dr. Persaud, while it is impossible to reverse damage caused by chronic kidney failure, the acute form of kidney failure is in fact reversible.
It wasn’t so long ago that Dr. Persaud had to attend to a 15-year-old girl suffering from acute kidney failure. She was required to undergo a few sessions of dialysis but, according to Dr. Persaud, when she was discharged she was back to normal health and is not expected to undergo another session of dialysis.
Chronic kidney failure occurs when the kidneys have been damaged over a period of time. In such cases it is either recommended that patients find a suitable donor and have a kidney transplant or undergo dialysis for the rest of their lives.
According to Dr. Persaud, while his Department conducts two clinics – Monday and Friday – weekly, there are two designated operating days, Mondays and Wednesdays.
During these operating days patients with advanced stages of kidney failure undergo dialysis. During dialysis, also referred to as hemodialysis, the blood of a patient is removed from the body and placed through a filter (dialysis machine). This allows for toxins such as urea, potassium and creatinine to be removed thereby cleansing the blood before it is returned to the body.
A session of dialysis could span three to five hours and patients may be required to undergo as many as three sessions per week, according to Dr. Persaud.
The GPHC also offers a more modern form of dialysis – arteriovenous (AV) fistula. AV fistula is a type of dialysis which medical experts have concluded is among the best options as it has been proven to be less complicated and less expensive. In fact, it is believed to allow patients to have a longer life-span.
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