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Cleveland Clinic performs UAE’s first full heart transplant

ABU DHABI, December 14, 2017

Physicians at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala’s network of healthcare providers and the region’s leading heart care center, have created history by successfully completing the UAE’s first full heart transplant.
 
The pioneering surgery, which took place on the evening of December 5 and into the early hours of the following morning, was performed by a four-person surgical team that included Dr Rakesh Suri, acting CEO of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi; Dr Johannes Bonatti, chief of the Heart & Vascular Institute; Dr Stefan Sanger, clinical associate; and Dr Jehad Al Ramahi, clinical associate – all of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. 
 
The patient, a 38-year-old Emirati man, had been suffering from end-stage heart failure and was managed by the Heart Failure and Transplant Program for almost six months. He was placed on Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s transplant waiting list shortly after the UAE government’s decree earlier this year that allows deceased donor transplants. 
 
The patient is currently recovering from the surgery at the hospital. 
 
On the same night, Dr Bashir Sankari, chief of the Surgical Subspecialties Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, performed a kidney transplant from the same donor, providing vital surgery for another patient on the hospital’s transplant list. 
 
Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of the Health Authority, said: “What we have accomplished today is a historic accomplishment that adds to the long list of UAE achievements. It is a clear indication of the qualitative shift in Abu Dhabi’s healthcare under our wise leadership, who have invested the time and effort to provide the country’s population with such distinguished services.”
 
“The donation process is a step towards raising awareness among the public about the importance of donating organs because of its role in saving lives. We aim to increase awareness and raise the number of organs so that we can provide treatments within the Emirate and improve the quality of healthcare,” he added.
 
Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, chairman of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Mubadala Deputy Group CEO, and Chief Executive Officer, Alternative Investments & Infrastructure, said: “We established Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi to provide the people of the UAE with the highest standards of care; to stimulate medical innovation; and to invest in the development of Emirati healthcare professionals. This remarkable series of operations delivered on all three objectives, and marked an important medical first for our hospital and our nation.”  
 
Dr Ali Al Obaidli, chair of the National Transplant Committee, said: “This operation marks the culmination of years of planning and preparation to ensure that the UAE has a comprehensive framework for transplant surgery. Working together, we have ensured that we have the surgical expertise and advanced treatments in place to support a full transplant program, in parallel with necessary regulatory changes. This is a great day for healthcare in the United Arab Emirates.” 
 
Dr Rakesh Suri said: “It is a significant achievement for Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and our transplant team, who have accomplished a historic medical milestone in the UAE. This operation underlines the incredible social impact that our transplant services are having – thanks to one donor, we have transformed the lives of multiple patients and their families.”
 
Demonstrating the remarkable benefits that organ donation can offer, teams from another medical facility in the UAE and from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were also involved in the transplants. The donor’s second kidney went to a pediatric patient at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, while a team from the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation (SCOT) was present for the surgery. 
 
The operation received strong support from the UAE National Organ Transplant Committee, who were heavily involved in the preparations for the transplant.
 
“This was a demonstration of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s multidisciplinary excellence at every level,” said Dr. Bonatti. “The donor heart started beating immediately after implantation and the heart patient was taken to the intensive care unit after six hours in the operating room.”
 
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has worked closely with Cleveland Clinic and Mubadala in establishing its organ transplant program. Cleveland Clinic Transplant Center is a world leader in organ transplantation, and the team in Abu Dhabi has benefitted significantly from sharing best practice and new innovations with their colleagues in the United States.  
 
For Emirati national Dr Jehad Al Ramahi, the opportunity to be part of the first UAE heart transplant team was a career-defining experience. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is committed to supporting the growth and development of UAE national physicians, as part of its efforts to help build a sustainable healthcare sector.  
 
Dr Rakesh Suri: “This operation represents a major milestone as far as the services we can provide at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and it offers new hope for patients with heart failure in the UAE. It also demonstrates the incredible international and regional cooperation that is enabling the delivery of world-class transplant services for our community, with the support of Cleveland Clinic’s Transplant Center in the US and the collaboration with hospitals in the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia maximising the impact of these operations.” - TradeArabia News Service



Tags: Cleveland | Mubadala | Transplant |

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