Elyse Gawley, Vancouver chapter co-ordinator of PKD Foundation of Canada, in a video posted to the organization’s website. (photo: endpkd.ca)

HEALTH: New kidney clinic in Surrey the first of its kind in B.C.

PKD Foundation officials celebrate new Fraser Health facility at 9801 King George Blvd.

A new clinic in Surrey specializing in polycystic kidney disease, or PKD, is considered the first of its kind in B.C.

Officials with PKD Foundation of Canada and Fraser Health celebrated the clinic’s grand opening Wednesday (May 30) at #300-9801 King George Blvd.

Jeff Robertson, executive director for the PKD foundation, believes the clinic is going to make a difference for patients living with the disease.

“Being the first of its kind in the province of B.C., patients will finally have access to the specialized support those afflicted by PKD need,” he stated in a release.

“The Surrey PKD Clinic will bring together many levels of care to treat this multi-disciplinary disease and serve as a direct line of communication between physicians and nephrologists, leading to a higher quality of care for their patients.”

PKD is a genetic disorder that causes multiple cysts to form in the kidneys.

“Polycystic kidneys become very large, have a bumpy surface and contain many fluid-filled cysts,” says a post on the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s website (kidney.ca). “This can be associated with a number of conditions, including high blood pressure, urinary and kidney infections, kidney stones (and) kidney failure.”

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The Vancouver chapter co-ordinator of PKD Foundation of Canada is Elyse Gawley, 27, who is featured in a video posted to the organization’s website (endpkd.ca).

“(PKD) has rippled through her family and she has seen the devastating impact it can have,” says a description of the video. “But she doesn’t let it stop her from living her life. She has a job she loves, travels whenever she can and makes the most of every day.”

The Surrey clinic is part of an existing Kidney Care Clinic, and patients can be referred to it by their nephrologist.

“Until recently, an effective treatment for this disease wasn’t available, so clients with polycystic kidney disease would have their symptoms managed by nephrologists in the community and would not be referred to the Kidney Care Clinic,” Jacqueline Blackwell, a senior consultant in Fraser Health’s public affairs office, wrote in an email to the Now-Leader.

“The Polycystic Kidney Disease Clinic uses a team-based approach to care to bring together various health care providers such as nephrologists that specialize in polycystic kidney disease, nurses, dietitians, social workers, and allied health professionals to closely monitor and address the patient’s ongoing health care needs.

“The clinic supports patients in the progression of their disease, including the daily challenges of the disease, and helps people stay healthy enough to remain on the active transplant list. The clinic will improve communication between physicians and nephrologists, leading to a more streamlined care journey for patients living with the disease.

“Though there are some similarities between different types of kidney disease, polycystic kidney disease poses its own unique challenges since it can progress rapidly without warning and requires specialized care.”

Dr. Micheli (Mike) Bevilaqua, with the B.C Provincial Renal Agency, will be leading the efforts at the Fraser Health PKD Clinic, and is said to have been “invested in the PKD community for some time and understands PKD patients can benefit from specialized and streamlined care,” according to a release.

“Our team is very proud to be able to open our doors and offer dedicated clinic and services to our patients living with PKD,” Bevilaqua stated. “This clinic comes from a recognition, mainly driven by our patients, that although different kidney diseases have some similarities, there are also many aspects of a disease like PKD that pose unique challenges and therefore warrant dedicated attention and specialized care. With the field of PKD care advancing so rapidly, I look forward to the future of this clinic, including the ability to integrate new treatment strategies as they emerge and offer that state of the art care to our patients living with this disease.”

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