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New appointments extend specialist care

New appointments extend specialist sleep and respiratory care to children

Two paediatric respiratory specialists - Dr Jacob Twiss and Dr Naveen Pillarisetti - will begin consultations from the New Zealand Respiratory and Sleep Institute (NZRSI) from October 1, 2015. These appointments strengthen the offering of this purpose-designed facility in Auckland’s Greenlane to include a focus on child health within these disciplines.

Dr Jacob Twiss MbCHb, FRACP, PhD, DCH is an Auckland Medical School graduate who has worked at Starship Children’s Health since 2006. He investigates and treats, among other conditions, persistent cough, asthma, neuromuscular problems that affect breathing, and obstructive sleep apnoea in children and young people up to 18 years.

His colleague, Dr Naveen Pillarisetti MBBS, MD, MRCPCH, CCT (UK), trained in India, the UK and also holds a fellowship in paediatric respiratory medicine from The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Dr. Pillarisetti is involved in looking after children with a wide variety of respiratory problems. He also currently conducts research into airway microbiomes in patients with bronchiectasis compared to healthy children.

“It will be the first time that a private clinic in New Zealand can offer families the option of seeing a paediatrician that specialises in sleep and breathing simply by getting a referral from their GP,” said the founder of the NZRSI, Dr Andrew Veale. These young patients will be able to receive all of the necessary investigations and management from a single site. The access to allied specialists such as physiotherapists, physiologists and speech and language therapists, will add tremendous value.

While sleep medicine is a relatively new field, there is a growing acknowledgement that poor sleep impacts the health and performance of children. It is estimated that around 2-4% of otherwise healthy children suffer from sleep-disordered breathing which disturbs their quality of sleep. The ramifications are poor concentration, unpredictable moods and learning difficulties. The long-term health risks include obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Many of the sleep and respiratory conditions in children are treatable. Respiratory conditions such as sleep apnoea, moderate to severe asthma, exercise-related symptoms and chronic cough can have a significant impact on the well-being and quality of life of a child. These children can benefit by seeing a specialist earlier. “If you can change something at an early age, you can not only make a huge difference to the day-to-day lives of these kids, but also have a positive impact on their health as an adult. This is why we love working with children…bringing the smile back,” says Dr Pillarisetti.

Dr Twiss, who will undertake assessments and clinical reviews at the NZRSI, says he is pleased to have the opportunity to work alongside a group of specialist physicians who can offer a ‘one-stop’ service within state-of-the art facilities. “Working with kids is inspiring and enables you to include some play as part of your day. I look forward to developing long-term relationships with the children and their families.”

Dr. Pillarisetti and Dr. Twiss will be available for consultation at NZRSI one day per week by prior appointment. Referrals can come through GPs or paediatricians.

ENDS

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