Patient experience - Treatment of suspected colitis

Mrs S attended a Bupa Health assessment at Spire Cheshire and was referred for further tests

"Dr Ramakrishnan fulfils all this criteria in the most professional, friendly and approachable manner I could ask for"
Mrs S

Mrs S tells of her experience

"Through my employer I have regularBupa Health assessments and currently attend Spire Cheshire Hospital for these on an annual basis. This assessment includes numerous tests, one of which is faecal screening, and for me in March 2010 this showed the presence of blood, indicating an internal bleed.

The staff at the Bupa Health Assessment Centre were very professional and friendly and they arranged for me to see Mr Barry Taylor, Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon at Spire Cheshire Hospital, I did not need to go back to see my GP.

I had a consultation with Mr Taylor, followed promptly by a colonoscopy and endoscopy with biopsies under sedation. The staff on the day reassured me and they were very professional, friendly and helpful. From the procedure Mr Taylor diagnosed active chronic inflammation of over 50% of the large bowel (suggestive of ulcerative colitis) with no indication of cancer. It was the diagnosis I expected as this condition is present in a number of family members. Mr Taylor then referred me toDr Subramaniam Ramakrishnan, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Spire Cheshire.

Although I had a diagnosis suggestive of ulcerative colitis I was asymptomatic and so Dr Ramakrishnan advised me to wait to see if these changes could be related to other possibilities. A further colonoscopy was planned to see if the changes persisted in 6 months or sooner if symptoms were to occur.

Six months later, at the second colonoscopy, my ulcerative colitis had shown no improvement. Although I remained asymptomatic the ulceration was affecting most of my large bowel, so I was then prescribed medication specifically formulated to heal the inflammatory areas in the bowel and to assist my body’s healing process.

I coped well with the medication, however three months later a viral infection triggered an acute episode of the ulcerative colitis and I became quite ill very quickly. Dr Ramakrishnan was excellent, he provided consultations via the telephone, and in conjunction with my GP my medication was amended.

After further consultations with Dr Ramakrishnan my medication was changed again and I started taking an immunosuppressant drug as I was undergoing a prolonged active phase.

At my last colonoscopy in March2012 my colitis seemed to be less severe but still active, I will probably continue on my medication for some years.

I now have regular blood tests to assess the effect of the medication on my body. As a result of the blood tests I have recently undergone an ultrasound scan and an MRI scan of my liver, these scans took place in the radiology department at Spire Cheshire. The results showed that whilst there are some fatty deposits on my liver there are no changes within the liver or bile pipes to suggest a condition called sclerosing cholangitis that can be associated with colitis.

This is a long term condition where I may experience acute episodes and  also need to be closely monitored to check the effect of the medication, so it is very important to me to have a good relationship with Dr Ramakrishnan, my Consultant Gastroenterologist. I need to trust him to discuss my prognosis as well as the beneficial and adverse effects of any treatment. It is important to me that we have an open and honest discussion on these matters. Dr Ramakrishnan fulfils all this criteria in the most professional, friendly and approachable manner I could ask for."

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