Record number of organ transplants performed at UAE hospital this month

Ten complex procedures were carried out by doctors at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in the first three weeks of October

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An Abu Dhabi hospital has performed a record number of organ transplants this month, saving the lives of several critically ill patients.

The team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi completed 10 of the complex procedures in the first three weeks of October.

The operations included two deceased donor kidney transplants and a deceased donor liver transplant, performed in a single day.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is one of only four hospitals in the UAE permitted to perform organ transplants.

Patients who would otherwise be waiting for months or even years for a deceased donor have another lifeline with our living-related organ donation programme
Dr Luis Campos, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

A multidisciplinary team also worked with counterparts from the US-based Cleveland Clinic to perform a living-donor liver transplant operation this month.

Dr Bashir Sankari, director of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s transplant programme, said he was proud of the progress they had made.

“Such an achievement in successively coordinating and treating so many patients with end-stage organ disease demonstrates the robustness of our transplant programme and the confidence and trust of families in our expertise to deliver innovative and compassionate care for their loved ones,” said Dr Sankari.

“Nothing is more gratifying than seeing these patients make remarkable improvements and leave our hospital with a better quality of life.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the donors, both living and deceased, for the enormous gift of life they have given to these patients.”

Hundreds of lives saved

Since the beginning of this year, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has performed 63 transplants in collaboration with other hospitals in the UAE and the region, and in partnership with medical teams from the US hospital.

This record number of procedures for the hospital brings the total number of transplant operations to 173 since the launch of the programme in 2017.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has also expanded its range of treatments to include complex combined transplants and living organ donation since 2018.

The expanded programme means they can treat many more high-risk patients from across the region.

“We’ve cared for some of the youngest patients from the UAE and abroad with end-stage disease, which are much more nuanced and challenging given their age,” said Dr Luis Campos, the director of liver transplant and hepatobiliary, which covers the gallbladder and bile ducts, at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

“Additionally, our expertise in combined transplants allows us to replace two organs in a patient suffering from multiple organ failure in a single surgery, proving more beneficial as they require lower immunosuppression doses and have a better survival rate.”

The first living-related donor transplant at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi was performed in 2018, when an Emirati brother donated a part of his healthy liver to save the life of his younger sister.

The first pancreas transplant performed in the UAE took place earlier this year at Cleveland Clinic, in a combined operation that also involved a young woman receiving a new kidney.

The nation’s first combined liver and kidney transplant was also performed at the hospital earlier this year.

Dr Sankari said the team hoped to further expand their expertise.

“Our mission has always been to bring the most advanced techniques in transplantation to the region and we work closely with colleagues across the Cleveland Clinic network to exchange knowledge and research in the field to achieve that,” he said.

“These successes could also not have been possible without the hospital’s strong partnerships with government entities and other transplant centres in the region to streamline processes and enhance the experience and care for our patients.”

Deceased organ donation has been permitted in the UAE since 2016, when a federal law was introduced allowing for the procedures.

A UAE government survey from 2018 showed that 68 per cent of respondents were willing to donate their organs after their death.

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Updated: October 24, 2021, 1:06 PM