The liver is such an amazing organ, yet it’s overlooked by many. It’s like the redhead stepchild that no one talks about - Life After Diagnosis


image by: Dr Muhammad Younas Orakzai

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Michael Beckett’s story

Michael went to his GP in 2011 feeling unwell. When he was informed that he had alcohol related liver disease Michael stopped drinking immediately. However, the damage to his liver had already been done. Michael’s liver was failing to work properly and shortly afterwards he started having to undergo regular drainage of his ascites.

When patients suffer from alcohol-related liver disease or cirrhosis, the liver and kidneys stop working properly and fluid stops being exchanged within the cells in the way it should. This leads to ascites – an excess of fluid, which gathers in the abdomen.

As there is no way for this fluid to be removed from the body naturally, up to 15 litres…

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 Michael Beckett’s story

Michael was the first patient to receive an alfapump as part of the Royal Free clinical trial and he started to feel the benefit of the continual removal of his ascites pretty quickly.


The alfapump is a subcutaneously implanted battery-operated pump, which automatically and continually moves ascites from the abdominal cavity to the bladder, where it is excreted naturally from the body. Now, with new DirectLink technology, patients and physicians are offered an unprecendented level of comfort and convenience.


Ascites is the most common manifestation in cirrhotic patients and is associated with a reduced survival rate. A transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) can be used in patients with refractory ascites needing frequent paracentesis (>3/month). It is a local anaesthetic procedure (with sedation) and has generally replaced surgically created portocaval shunts.

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