Tuesday 19 March 2019

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi achieves key medical milestone

, February 20, 2018

Physicians at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi have created history in the UAE by developing a comprehensive multi-organ transplant program which is already transforming patients’ lives.

This month, the multi-specialty hospital successfully completed the UAE’s first full liver transplant and first lung transplant, both from deceased donors.

With the pioneering surgeries conducted this month, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has till now performed deceased donor transplants for four major organs – kidney, heart, liver and lung. These operations were supported by the Ministry of Health.

The UAE’s first full liver transplant, which took place on February 1, was performed by a five-person medical and surgical team led by Dr. Antonio Pinna, the transplant surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. The UAE’s first deceased donor lung transplant, which took place on February 11, was led by Dr Redha Souilamas, the chief of Thoracic Surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

In December 2017, surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi performed the UAE’s first full heart transplant, while a team from the hospital successfully conducted one of the UAE’s first kidney transplants from a deceased donor in September 2017.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is currently the UAE’s first and only multi-organ transplant facility, following the UAE government decree last year allowing deceased donor transplants.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, the chairman of the Department of Health, said: "We are immensely proud to achieve these new medical milestones in the UAE. Coming only weeks after Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi completed the UAE’s first full heart transplant, this progress shows just how far the UAE has come in providing advanced medical services which enable patients to receive the very best care at home."

“Our next step has to be supporting a robust culture of organ donation to make it easy for people to gift their organs. We are seeing the incredible impact that organ donation is having on multiple lives within the UAE, and are receiving regular inquiries from people looking to donate, so will work with our partners to make the process easier and more accessible,” he added.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala’s network of healthcare providers, has worked closely with the Cleveland Clinic Transplant Center in the US, a world leader in organ transplantation; partner hospitals in the UAE; and the Saudi Center for Organ Transplant (SCOT) in establishing its organ transplant program.

Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, the chairman of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Mubadala’s Deputy Group CEO, and CEO Alternative Investments & Infrastructure, said: "These historic surgeries are the product of ongoing and established cooperation between a number of UAE, regional and global entities."

"They involved physicians from Abu Dhabi, Ajman and Fujairah as well as transportation from the National Transplant Committee and liaison and expert advice from Cleveland Clinic Transplant Center in the US," he added.

Dr. Ali AbdulKareem Al Obaidli, Chair of the National Transplant Committee, said: "There is growing public support for organ donation in the UAE, and this is not surprising because the UAE has a historic culture of donation in general."

"We are currently working on plans to extend this effort further through a community outreach program. Already, we have been contacted by many people who have expressed an interest in donating their organs after they die and we would like to open a UAE donor registry to the public in the near future, he stated.

CEO Dr Rakesh Suri said: "We are very proud that Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is the first and only multi-organ transplant facility in the country. The hospital is pleased to be able to repay just a small amount of the trust placed in us by the people of Abu Dhabi by ensuring that some of the sickest patients we treat are now able to receive cutting edge surgical and medical treatment without travelling abroad.”

A five-person medical and surgical team performed the UAE’s first full liver transplant, which took place on February 1. The team included: Dr. Antonio Pinna, Transplant Surgeon; Dr. Yasir Akmal, Hepatobiliary Surgeon; Dr. Naveed Ahmed, Hepatobiliary Surgeon; Dr. Ahmad Matalkah, Clinical Associate; and Dr. Shiva Kumar, Chief of Gastroenterology & Hepatology – all of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

The patient, a 60-year-old Emirati man, had been suffering from cirrhosis with liver failure complicated by ascites (an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen) and peritonitis (an infection of the inner wall of the abdomen). He had also suffered gastrointestinal bleeding due to underlying cirrhosis, that underscored the urgent need for a liver transplant.

To complete the operation, the surgical team used an innovative technique, preserving the patient’s own vena cava (the large vein running from the liver to the heart) to reduce blood loss. The complex eight-hour surgery involved a wider medical team comprising more than 30 surgical and medical staff, including nurses, anesthesiologists, intensivists, technicians and many others.

Three surgeons and two nurses from Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi travelled to Sheikh Khalifa Medical City – Ajman to retrieve the donor liver and other organs before rushing back to Abu Dhabi via an air ambulance supplied by the UAE National Transplant Committee to perform the eight-hour transplant surgery.

Dr Pinna said: “This surgery was a tremendous achievement for Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a whole. I personally would like to thank the entire team for making this operation a success."

Dr Shiva Kumar, Chief of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, said: “This milestone is the culmination of more than two years of meticulous planning by our multi-disciplinary liver transplant team. We are pleased to report that, after months of deteriorating health, the patient is recovering well and will be back home soon – which would not have been possible without the transplant.”

At the same time, surgeons from Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi also transplanted a kidney from the same donor to another patient at the hospital while a second kidney was transplanted to a patient at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi. Other organs were used by surgical teams in Saudi Arabia.

The UAE’s first deceased donor lung transplant, which took place on February 11, was led by Dr Souilamas who led a team of 15 people in the Operating Room.

Dr Gurjyot Bajwa, a cardiac surgeon in Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Heart & Vascular Institute, flew to a hospital in Fujairah to assess the condition of the donor lungs before transporting them back to the hospital via air ambulance, again supplied by the National Transplant Committee.

The lung transplant patient, a 53-year old UAE national, had been suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and had been on Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s transplant waiting list for three months after he was referred to the hospital from Dubai.

After two and a half years of training, the team was able to transplant the patient’s right lung in a surgery which lasted just three hours and 20 minutes using a minimally-invasive approach. The patient is now recovering in the hospital.-TradeArabia News Service

Tags: medical | Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi | Liver transplant |

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