Today, HRH The
Countess of Wessex visited the gastroenterology department at Great Ormond
to meet patients, families and consultants. She was briefed on the National
Commissioning Group funding the hospital has secured to provide a national
service to children with gut disorders in the UK.
In a European first, Great Ormond
will see all children presenting with a severe life-long disabling gut
condition called intestinal pseudo-obstruction.
This group of patients often present soon after birth with
what appears to be an intestinal blockage. This, however, is not curable by
simple surgery to remove the obstruction. It is due to abnormalities of the
function of gut nerves and muscles resulting in the intestine being unable to
contract causing a ‘handbrake’ effect and making the abdomen distend. The
children are often unable to eat needing specialised feeding, and sometimes
undergo numerous unnecessary operations which aggravate rather than relieve the
condition, spending long periods in hospital with little or no improvement in
clinical status. The impact on families can be devastating.
The service will be run by Gastroenterology consultants Dr
Keith Lindley, Dr Nikhil Thapar and Dr Osvaldo Borrelli.
Dr Lindley said: “Intestinal pseudo-obstruction affects
around 12 children a year in the UK, so it is a relatively rare
condition which stops the intestine from contracting normally.
“Many of these children might undergo as many as four or
five unnecessary surgical procedures before they are referred to us, so the
fact we are able to intervene and make a diagnosis earlier will benefit many of
the children and their families, including a marked reduction in their hospital
“The condition can be congenital or acquired and the
patients will lead a poor quality of life, spending long periods in
“Once these patients are referred to us we are able to offer
state of the art diagnostic testing, including measuring how much the gut is
able to contract. We believe that early
therapeutic intervention will allow us to choose the optimal treatment regime
for each individual.
“Once we have seen a patient, made a diagnosis and compiled
a treatment plan they will be referred back for treatment at a local tertiary
centre so we will establish a strong network with colleagues in
Gastroenterology from across the UK and continue to work very closely
with them. We are greatly appreciative of the support for the development of
this service both nationally and internationally.”
Dr Jane Collins, chief executive at Great Ormond
said: “The fact we have secured National Commissioning Group funding to provide
this new service is a testament to the exciting and committed work of the Gastroenterology
team here. We have also received lots of support from families in establishing
this, for which we are really grateful.”
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