15-year-old Emirati who suffered from high blood pressure finds relief after surgery

Saman Haziq/Abu Dhabi
Filed on November 7, 2020


The Emirati teen, together with his parents, had been to several hospitals across the country and in India.

At 15, Mubarak Almenhali had already suffered from a number of chronic conditions — from high blood pressure and heart issues to excessive sweating, emotional outbursts and headaches. This was all because of a rare tumour found in his body.

The Emirati teen, together with his parents, had been to several hospitals across the country and in India, hoping to find treatment but to no avail. Then, a complex surgery in Abu Dhabi turned his life around.

Found in Mubarak’s peripheral nervous system, the tumour was slow-growing but aggressive. It usually affects two in a million people every year, and those who get it are mostly in the age group of 30 to 50 years.

“It was an eight-centimetre tumour located behind the stomach and close to the pancreas. It arises from the nerve cells around the body and tends to secrete hormones like adrenaline — which causes the fight-or-flight response, anger, high blood pressure and stress,” said Dr Yasir Akmal, a consultant surgical oncologist in the Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, who was part of the team that removed the tumour.

Dr Akmal added that the mass was located next to Mubarak’s aorta, the main artery that carries blood to the rest of the body. This meant it had blocked off the main vessels that supply blood to the liver and small intestine.

“The patient’s body compensated by forming large collateral blood vessels to supply blood to these organs. If this had not happened, his liver and intestine would have failed,” he explained.

Complex surgery

In removing the tumour, the surgical team had to be very careful to preserve these new vessels. They even had to reconstruct one that was supplying blood to his liver.

“The connection that we had created for his liver was working well but he had lost blood flow to the gall bladder. So, we had to remove that and a small part of his pancreas,” said Dr Akmal.

After the six-hour surgery, Mubarak was placed under intensive care to make sure his additional blood vessels were working properly.

Excited to live a normal life

Having completed a radiation therapy to reduce the risk of getting the tumour again, Mubarak can now look forward to returning to school since he had stopped attending classes because of health issues.

“I was told by so many hospitals that my surgery was not possible. But at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, they took care of me and took my pain away,” said a happy Mubarak.

“I am excited to go to school and play with my friends. I feel like my health is improving every day.”

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