First ever liver shunt procedure at Mater Dei saves patient’s life

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First ever liver shunt procedure at Mater Dei saves patient's lifeLast week the first intervention of its kind carried out at Mater Dei Hospital resulted in a man's life being saved.

The procedure, which was performed on a 48-year-old man, was a transjugular protosystemic shunt (TIPS), which is used to insert a shunt within the patient's liver.

Hepatobiliary radiologist Dr Kelvin Cortis explained that when a person has liver disease, the liver expands and starts putting pressure on the surrounding veins, this can cause bleeding, leading to the loss of the patient's life..

The Parliamentary Secretary for Health Chris Fearne said the procedure carried out for the first time in this country "is the result of continuous investment in out doctors' training."

Dr Cortis was trained in both Palermo and London, and the procedure in Malta was carried out with doctors from the ISMETT Institute in Palermo, in collaboration with a medical team at Mater Dei Hospital led by Dr Cortis.

The procedure costs €10,000 and it is estimated that around six TIPS procedures will be carried out in Malta every year.

"We're working hard in the field of liver diseases, including hepatitis C. Last year we started dispensing the Harvoni drug, which is given to those who qualify for it according to the medical criteria. It costs thousands for each course, but can mean a new life for those who suffer from liver disease," Fearne said.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Health also thanked Dr Kelvin Cortis, the medical team from Palermo, and all those who played an active role in this procedure.

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