Robert Seith | CWK Network
“If we can offer them a cure in a 15-minute procedure without an incision 90 percent of the time, then I think this may be the way of treating most patients with reflux.”
- Dr. Andrew Kirsch, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta -
Three-year-old Madison and her little brother Patrick, were born with vescioureteral reflux, commonly known as VUR.
“And what that implies is that urine is going in an abnormal direction,” explains pediatric urologist Dr. Andrew Kirsch. “Instead of going down south from the kidneys to the bladder, it goes north from the bladder up to the kidneys.”
Reflux can be problematic if it carries bacteria back into the kidneys. The result can be infection, scarring and high blood pressure.
Like many children with VUR, Madison and Patrick took daily doses of antibiotics to help prevent infection. For Madison, however, taking the medicine was a struggle.
“It was a fight every single day,” says Erin Chance, the children’s mother. “It was just anything I could do to get it down her, because it was so important for her to take it to not get a urinary tract infection.”
After a year of taking medicine, doctors suggested surgery to repair the faulty ureters, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
There were two surgical choices: open surgery, which is 100 percent effective or a minimally invasive, 15-minute procedure.
“That involves an endoscopic placement of a small telescope into the bladder and then an injection of a product called deflux is used to bulk or close the end of the ureter,” explains Dr. Kirsch.
Today, because of new techniques pioneered by Dr. Kirsch, the endoscopic procedure has gone from 75 percent effective to 90 percent.
“This gives [families] an opportunity to be done with reflux. This provides an opportunity of curing reflux. This provides a way of not going on long-term antibiotics, and it provides a way of not having open surgery.”
Three months after the surgery, Madison’s reflux is completely gone. In Patrick, there is barely a trace.
“I think this is revolutionary because it gives parents a peace of mind. It gives them another option. It gives kids a chance that before they didn’t have without being put through major surgery,” says Erin Chance. “That night they were running around. They had a little bit of pain on urination that lasted about twenty-four hours, and then they were fine. They don’t even remember it.”
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