First deceased donor lung transplant performed in UAE

The patient, a 53-year old Emirati, was suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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The country’s first deceased donor lung transplant surgery was successfully performed in Abu Dhabi ten days ago.

Dr Gurjyot Bajwa, a cardiac surgeon in Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Heart and Vascular Institute, flew to a hospital in Fujairah to assess the condition of the donor lungs before transporting them back to the hospital in the capital via air ambulance, supplied by the National Transplant Committee.

The patient, a 53-year old Emirati was suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and had been on Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s transplant waiting list for three months after being referred to the hospital from Dubai.

After two and a half years of training, the team was able to transplant the patient’s right lung in a surgery, that lasted three hours and 20 minutes, using a minimally-invasive approach. The patient is now recovering in the hospital.


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“Lung transplants are traditionally higher risk than many other types of organ transplants, due to the high possibility of infection,” said Dr Redha Souilamas, chief of thoracic surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, who has personally completed more than 130 double lung transplants during his nearly 30-year career.

“In this particular case, we had to work especially quickly due to the fact that both the donor and the recipient were over 50 years old, which can increase surgical risk.

“Everything went very smoothly and we completed the operation very swiftly,” he said.

On the evening of December 5 and into the early hours of the following morning, the UAE’s first full heart transplant was performed.

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.

The patient is now recovering at home after being discharged, although he continues to attend follow-up visits.