Top surgeons reveal UAE's historical organ transplant cases
Top surgeons from around the world shed light on the recent medical milestones in the field of donor organ transplantation from the deceased in the UAE, during a press hearing on Tuesday.
The Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi surgeons, said that the four key organ transplant cases have not only created historical milestones in the country's health sector, but have also changed the lives of suffering patients, as well as families in the UAE.
UAE's first liver transplant from a deceased donor
The UAE's first full liver transplant from a deceased donor, was performed by a five-person medical and surgery team led by Dr Antonio Pinna, Transplant Surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
The patient, a 60-year-old Emirati man, had been suffering from cirrhosis with liver failure complicated by ascites and peritonitis. He had also suffered gastrointestinal bleeding due to underlying cirrhosis, that had underscored the urgent need for a liver transplant.
The team of surgeons used an innovative technique, preserving the patient's own vena cava, to reduce blood loss.
The complex eight-hour surgery involved a wider medical team comprising of more than 30 surgical and medical staff.
Three surgeons and two nurses travelled to Sheikh Khalifa Medical City - Ajman to retrieve the donor's liver and other organs before rushing back to Abu Dhabi via an air ambulance supplied by the UAE National Transplant Committee.
Surgeons 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 teams of surgeons in Saudi Arabia.
Dr Pinna, who has conducted more than 1,200 liver transplant surgeries, said: "Liver transplant is a very complex procedure and the surgery itself is only one part of the story - there is a whole team which works on the preparation, management of the operation, transportation of the organ and the long-term treatment of the patient."
The organ transplant recipient, Mr Mohammed, said it is crucial for patients to have treatment available locally, rather than having to travel abroad, which he said can cause psychological distress.
"It is very important for suffering patients to be surrounded by their family and friends at home."
UAE's first lung transplant from a deceased donor
The UAE's first lung transplant from a deceased donor was led by Dr Redha Souilamas, Chief of Thoracic Surgery, along with a team of 15 people.
The lung transplant patient, a 53-year old UAE national, had been suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and had been on the transplant waiting list for three months.
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.
Dr Souilamas, who has completed more than a 130 double lung transplants during his career, said that lung transplants are traditionally riskier than many other types of organ transplants, due to the high possibility of infection and rejection.
He pointed out that the team had to work quickly due to the fact that both the donor and the recipient were over 50 years old, which can increase the risk of surgery.
"The patient is now recovering well in the hospital," said Dr Souilamas.
UAE's first heart transplant from a deceased donor
On the evening of December 5 and into the early hours of the following morning, the UAE's first full heart transplant was performed by a team of four surgeons.
The patient, a 38-year-old Emirati man, had been suffering from end-stage heart failure and was being managed by the Heart Failure and Transplant Programme for almost six months.
The patient is currently recovering well and has been discharged from the hospital, although he continues have follow-up visits.
Hospital's first kidney transplant from a deceased donor
In September last year, physicians performed the hospital's first kidney transplant from a deceased donor- which was one of the first kidney transplants from a deceased donor in the UAE.
The recipient, a 40-year-old female Emirati, had been suffering from kidney failure for nine years, which was caused by hypertension.
The kidney was transferred over a 7.5-hour journey from the deceased donor's hospital.
Dr Bashir Sankari, Chief of the Surgical Subspecialties Institute, who led the surgery, said: "The patient did not have a living donor to help her and she was on dialysis for so many years."