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Bridging The Gap

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written by Dr. Annu Aggarwal

launch of Comprehensive Wilson disease Clinic

Wilson disease (WD) is a genetic disorder that results in excessive accumulation of copper in the liver and the brain. symptoms of WD in any child or young adult include liver failure (jaundice), involuntary movements, dropping school grades, depression, psychosis, joint pains or unexplained fractures.

Diagnosis for WD is complicated and is based on a combination of careful assessment and specialised tests. Its treatment is life-long and includes a low copper diet and drugs to chelate copper. liver transplant is advised for those patients who develop liver failure and who don’t respond to medical therapy. Fortunately, with accurate diagnosis and timely treatment, even those who are mute, bedridden and incontinent, can recover and resume school/work.

If untreated, WD is fatal. Delay in diagnosis and inadequate treatment of WD continues due to lack of awareness and knowhow. Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and medical Research Institute has introduced a comprehensive Wilson Disease Clinic on the first monday of every month. The aim of the clinic is to ensure that no person in India goes undiagnosed or untreated.

The clinic is run by a team of specialists with considerable experience in treating patients. The experts managing it include Dr Annu Aggarwal, consultant neurologist and specialist in cognitive and behavioral neurology; Dr mohit Bhatt, consultant neurologist and specialist in movement disorders; and Dr Geeta Billa, consultant hepatologist. The clinic offers a comprehensive care programme with neurology and liver specialist consultation, physical and cognitive rehabilitation, speech therapy and gait training. As WD is a familial disease, we offer family counselling services, screening of siblings and genetic counselling.

Dr Aggarwal and Dr Bhatt have made important scientifi c contribution to the understanding of WD, including developing a new paradigm to diagnose WD and a clinical scale—the Global Assessment Scale for Wilson Disease (GAS for WD)— to monitor disease progression, compliance and treatment adequacy. Their research has been published in leading international medical and neurology journals. Dr Aggarwal and Dr Bhatt are internationally recognised experts in WD and have won numerous awards for their contribution. Dr Geeta Billa is a consultant hepatologist, and is responsible for managing the liver, and advise if and when a liver transplant become necessary. In the near future, liver transplant service will also be available for patients at Kokilaben Hospital.

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