The care and treatment of renal patients in the south of the country has received a shot in the arm with St Jude Hospital now expanding its services to include AV Fistula surgery for patients requiring dialysis.
AV Fistula placement is an essential procedure for people with renal failure. It involves a plastic tube being placed under the skin to connect an artery to a vein. This allows for repeated needle insertions for dialysis treatment.
Today, patients from the south will no longer be required to travel to Castries to get the procedure done. Previously, those who were unable to make the trip would be fitted with a temporary and more costly “catheter” which is a plastic tube that’s placed into a large vein.
Consultant Surgeon Dr Charles Greenidge explained: “The advantage is that when this fistula is created, the patient has a much better quality of life because, with the catheter, life is very difficult. It’s difficult to bathe; they can’t imagine going to the beach or a swimming pool. With an AV Fistula they can do all those things. Catheters can get infected and blocked. Fistulas are much more reliable.”
A fistula implant is a minor procedure that takes approximately one hour to perform, thereby allowing patients to return home the same day of surgery. St Jude Hospital can now perform the operation owing to improved technical expertise and equipment.
The Head of the Nephrology Unit, Nurse Padrina Auguste said the fistulas are convenient, cost effective and help to prevent the risk of infection from dialysis catheters.
“Given our vision to be a Health Care Provider of Excellence, we try to ensure that our patients remain happy and satisfied with the care that we provide,” Nurse Auguste said.
St Jude Hospital is constantly striving to improve the services and quality of care that it provides to the St Lucian public. Offering fistula implants to renal patients is another important step in that direction.
There are presently thirty-six (36) patients on dialysis treatment at St Jude Hospital. Patients requiring fistula operations are encouraged to contact the hospital for more information on how to get the procedure done.