Photo: (Left)Dr Andrew Falzon, (right)Consultant Urological Surgeon Mr Rahul Mistry

A young doctor’s idea to prevent kidney damage has landed him a major prize in a NHS version of TV’s Dragon’s Den.

Dr Andrew Falzon and his mentor, Consultant Urological Surgeon Mr Rahul Mistry, were awarded £1,000 to develop “Breaking AKI” which won them the runner-up prize in the Health Education North West Junior Doctor Advisory Team competition.

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is sudden damage to the kidneys which causes them to stop working properly. It particularly affects people over 65 but also those with long-term medical conditions such as heart failure and diabetes.

Experts estimate AKI is responsible for one-in-five emergency admissions to hospital and up to 100,000 hospital deaths of which nearly a quarter could be prevented.

“It also costs the NHS tens of millions of pounds in care but the causes of kidney injury receive hardly any media attention,” said Dr Falzon, who is a Foundation Year 1 doctor at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust. For the competition, he and Mr Mistry developed a three-pronged approach that:

• Educated and involved patients
• Promoted early recognition of symptoms
• Helped with the management of AKI in hospital

Dr Falzon designed two “Ur-ine-volved” posters to show at risk patients how to monitor their urine and how much water they should be drinking.

“By empowering patients through education, patients can assess their own hydration status through their urine colour and quantity as well as identify any symptoms that should be brought to the attention of a medical professional,” he said.

“I have also developed a form to help doctors admitting patients identify who’s at risk of AKI and patient identifier stickers which flag their concern to doctors treating them on the ward.”

Mr Mistry added: “As doctors, we’re always telling patients to drink more but it’s less straight-forward to advise how much. Andrew’s brilliant work gives us a tool to do just that as it is now self-directed patient education.

“He will be using the cash from the competition award to develop his ideas so we can begin to put them into practice.”


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