Department of Paediatrics, the Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Faculty of Medicine in the Chinese University of Hong Kong enrolled the first batch of students in 1981, aiming to provide high quality medical education, to enhance clinical services and to promote better overall health care. Lectures were held in the Christian United Hospital in the early days before the Prince of Wales Hospital started to operate in 1984. In the same year, Prof. D P Davis of the Faculty of Medicines also founded the Department of Pediatrics. With the rapid development of new towns, Shatin and Tai Po quickly became densely populated districts, and the New Territories East has now become one of the areas with the fastest increase of children. During the past 30 years, the Department of Pediatrics and the Prince of Wales Hospital have been working closely together to provide advanced patient-based diagnoses and treatments to the children from the New Territories East and other parts of Hong Kong. The Department of Paediatrics is also committed to developing new medical technologies through scientific research and several clinical specialties have become the referral centres for child patients in Hong Kong.
With the advancement in intensive care techniques, the survival rate of preterm infants has increased substantially in the past 25 years. In recent years, the Prince of Wales of Hospital has been involved in developing high-frequency respirators and non-invasive ventilation techniques to help infants who have severe respiratory problems and to reduce damage to the lungs which often occurred during the use of traditional respirators. Neonatal pulmonary hypertension was once a serious neonatal disease with high fatality rates because traditional remedies like vasodilators did not give satisfactory results. The inhaling of nitric oxide, introduced by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, effectively reduces pulmonary pressure and raises blood oxygen levels, and substantially helps to remedy continuous neonatal pulmonary hypertension. In 2006, the Prince of Wales Hospital introduced Systemic Mild Hypothermia as a treatment for neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, a serious pathology that can lead to infant mortality or disability.
Neonates receiving Systemic Mild Hypothermia
The Paediatric Intensive Care unit
In 2002, the Paediatric Intensive Care unit was established in the New Territories East, providing services to children with severe illnesses. The Prince of Wales Hospital is also the only centre for trauma patients in the New Territories East, and one of the three referral centres for children surgeries in Hong Kong. The Paediatric Intensive Care Unit provides high quality treatments and after-care services to children who have undergone major operations.
Respiratory and Allergy Medicine
In recent years, the Department of Pediatrics has been actively carrying out studies on children with respiratory problems, asthma and allergies. Childhood obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is a common serious illness that can lead to serious sequelae such as high blood pressure and learning difficulties if not diagnosed and treated early. The best way to diagnose children who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is overnight sleep study. The Department now has two wards designated for this purpose and 3 to 5 cases can be tested in a week. Allergies are the most common chronic illnesses among children. About one-third of the children in Hong Kong have different types of allergy, including asthma, allergic rhinitis, eczema, food and allergies to certain medicines. Responding to need, our Department opened the first integrated public child allergy clinic in 1999 by providing assessment services and treatments for them. In the past 10 years, the specialty clinic has carried out skin prick test, blood allergen-specific immunoglobulin E assay and examination for food and medicine induced allergy to over a thousand children. The Department also has two machines measuring the level of exhaled nitric oxide, thereby providing a simple, safe and accurate way to monitor the degree of airway inflammation in different types of lung diseases.
Measuring the intensity of Nitric Oxide in exhalation
The Department has been using an advanced apparatus for examining heart and lung function since 2001. During atreadmill session, we can now measure the variation in heart rate, blood pressure, electrocardiogram and oxygen consumption. It facilitates the diagnosis of heart diseases and abnormalities in lung performance and skeletal muscles. In addition, the research team of the Department has successfully developed the first blood pressure normogram for local children aged from 6 to 18 in Hong Kong, which provides essential health data of children in Hong Kong and is the basis for accurate diagnosis of children with high blood pressure in our locality.
Metabolic diseases are uncommon and complicated. Hence accurate diagnosis and subsequent treatment are often difficult. In 1997, our Department and the Faculty of Chemical Pathology of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Nutrition Department of the Prince of Wales Hospital started to run the first out-patient services for metabolic diseases in Hong Kong thus providing comprehensive and integrated diagnostic services and treatments to over 100 child patients and families.
Children Haematology and Oncology
Childhood blood diseases and cancers are the two major research areas of the Department of Paediatrics. We are also the major referral centre for such cases in Hong Kong. With the advances in medical technology, the cure rate of childhood cancer has risen from 57% in the early 80s to 75% in recent years. With the support from the government, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and generous donors, the Prince of Wales Hospital established the first child bone marrow transplant centre in 1991 and the Lady Pao Children’s Cancer Centre in 1995. By May 2009, there had been 300 successful transplant cases carried out in the transplant centre, involving related and non-related donors, blood stem cell transplant and umbilical-cord blood transplant.
Patients Mutual Aid Organizations
With the generous support from the general public, our department has received medical equipment and funding to develop patient education. The Chinese University of Hong Kong keeps close ties with the Hospital Authority, the Little Life Warrior Society, Hong Kong Mucopolysaccharideoses & Rare Genetic Diseases Mutual Aid Group and various patients’ mutual support groups. We welcome any feedback from our patients because this will help us to improve the services we offer.
Infants’ Parent Group
Hong Kong Mucopolysaccharideoses & Rare Genetic Diseases Mutual Aid Group
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