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December 2012

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MonashHeart Director Ian Meredith with Matthew Gaythorpe and mum, Alex.

World-first for one-of-a-kind

MonashHeart Director Ian Meredith has performed an innovative world-first procedure to give a new lease on life to a young Melbourne boy.

Matthew Gaythorpe, 10, is thought to be the only person in the world with a unique combination of conditions.

Matthew has autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease, congenital hepatic fibrosis (ARPKD/CHF) and narcolepsy.

The unique combination of conditions presents unique challenges, mainly around Matthew’s kidneys, blood pressure and heart rate.

Matthew has suffered severe hypertension all his life and had a minor stroke in 2011.

He takes around 30 medications every day.

Professor Meredith and a team at Southern Health worked with a company in the United States to custom-build medical equipment for Matthew’s small kidneys.

Only after this, did three separate Southern Health committees confer to approve the highly-experimental procedure never performed on a paediatric patient.

‘Using innovative radio frequency technology, we were able to effectively ‘zap’ some of the nerves and tissue surrounding Matthew’s renal arteries,’ Professor Meredith said.

‘This has resulted in a noticeable reduction in Matthew’s symptoms and blood pressure.’

As Matthew has relatively-rare ‘double-artery’ kidneys, he faced the prospect of daily dialysis, a kidney-liver transplant or even another stroke.

Professor Meredith’s determination to gain approval for the world-first procedure has given his family hope that Matthew’s quality of life will improve and that severe longterm consequences have been averted.

For Matthew’s mum, Alex, the difference has been remarkable.

‘His behaviour has noticeably improved.

‘He was often referred to as a puzzle with pieces that didn’t quite fit,’ Mrs Gaythorpe said.

‘But thanks to the determination of Professor Meredith and all involved, now we have hope.’