3D technology saves 7 newborns in Abu Dhabi

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3D technology saves 7 newborns in Abu Dhabi
Long-term survival and quality life of babies born with complex heart diseases are being achieved in the UAE, since the launch of the 3D printing in 2015.

Abu Dhabi - One in every 160 deliveries in the UAE is born with a congenital heart disease.

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

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Published: Mon 10 Jul 2017, 7:34 PM

Last updated: Mon 10 Jul 2017, 9:39 PM

The advancement of innovative technology in the UAE healthcare, has helped save seven lives of newborn babies born with congenital heart disease, Khaleej Times has learned.
"One in every 160 deliveries in the UAE is born with a congenital heart disease," said Dr Laszlo Kiraly, consultant paediatric cardiac surgeon and head of the department at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC). Dr Kiraly stressed that every year, approximately 500 newborns are affected by the deadly disease. "Congenital heart disease is more prevalent in the country than other parts of the world - around one per cent of all newborns suffer from this disease." 
He said that the 3D technology will help decrease the staggering number of cases. Virtual surgery conducted on 3D models of babies born with complex anatomy of the heart has saved the lives of two Emirati babies in the UAE Capital, just last week.
Dr Kiraly said that by exploring the models in detail and with experimenting different operative techniques (virtual surgery), doctors were able to devise a right operative solution even before the patients arrived to the operation theatres.
Seventy five per cent of the 500 newborns affected by the disease would require surgery for survival, while 66 per cent of the surgical cases must be achieved in the first six months of the patient's life. "25-30 per cent of the cases cannot be cured with one single operation - they require various heart surgeries - sometimes three." 
He said doctors recently saved the lives of babies born with congenital heart disease in the most complex form, which was deemed too risky without the models. "We can put the 3D models in our hands, rotate and further study the anatomy."
The successful surgeries include the closing of holes in babies' hearts, as well as rotating vessels, which created a better alignment.
Two Emirati children saved
Long-term survival and quality of life of babies born with complex heart diseases are being achieved in the UAE, since the launch of the 3D printing in 2015.
Dr Kiraly shared a recent case of a three-year-old Emirati girl, who had two previous heart surgeries. "The patient was in very bad shape - the multidisciplinary's option was to not go for surgery because it was far too risky."
"When we created the 3D model, we saw something else, something we would not have been able to find before." 
The model revealed the baby had an obstruction in her heart. Dr Laszlo and his team completed the final surgery last week.
Another Emirati girl, also born with a complicated heart disease, complex and unfavourable, that the patient was not possible to operate on. The little girl's heart was located on the right side of her body, and a connection between her lower body and lungs had to be created.
"We came up with a solution on how to drive the connection inside the heart without being compressed. This is something we couldn't have done without the model."
Dr Kiraly believes that technology and innovations will continue to develop healthcare in the UAE. "This national programme has a full potential to grow into a regional programme."
"In the future, we will use bio-scaffolds and biodegradable materials, which means we can do more complex surgeries with less risk."

First artificial intelligence committee established for Abu Dhabi healthcare
The first specialised artificial intelligence committee aiming to implement advance technology and its applications in the medical sector has been established in Abu Dhabi. 
Dr Mattar Rashid Al Darmaki, chief executive officer of Seha, explained how the branch of information technology will able machines to simulate the human mind. 
"Artificial intelligence is a new concept that diagnoses and treats most diseases in a smart way, in accordance with the highest technical standards and the latest technological practices. It will revolutionise the health sector in the UAE."
Applications of integration between artificial intelligence and healthcare are increasingly being used to make the integration effective in facilitating diagnosis, remote patient monitoring, accurate surgery, and early detection of diseases.
"The wise leadership aims to set Abu Dhabi as an example of the innovative health projects that serve the community," Dr Al Darmaki said. 
Workshops will be held in the fourth quarter of 2017, to activate the roles of artificial intelligence implementation. Part of the technology includes Sheikh Khalifa Medical City's team of specialists in cardiology, who have succeeded in utilising a 3D printing technique, prior to operating on children born with congenital heart disease.

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