UAE's first double lung transplant performed by Abu Dhabi hospital

Four transplant patients were saved with the kidneys, lungs and liver of a single donor who died on June 10

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Surgeons in Abu Dhabi performed the country’s first double lung transplant on Sunday.

Four transplant patients were saved with the kidneys, lungs and liver of a single donor who died on June 10.

A team of surgeons from Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi performed all three transplant surgeries on Sunday.

A kidney from the same donor was taken to a patient at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.

Double-lung transplants, also known as bilateral transplants, involve the removal of both lungs from the donor and then transplanting them to in an ill patient.

The patient, an expatriate woman, 45, had been suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. A progressive disease that causes extensive lung scarring.

Dr Redha Souilamas, chair of thoracic surgery at the hospital, led the double-lung transplant and was assisted by a team of 10 specialists.


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“I’m pleased to say that the surgery went smoothly, and the patient is recovering well,” said Dr Souilamas, who has performed 150 double-lung transplants over the past 10 years.

“We were well-prepared for this surgery, that lasted five-and-a-half hours. The patient is breathing on her own and is smiling and talking,” he said.

All the other patients are recovering well.

Earlier this year, the hospital performed a successful lung and liver transplants, following on from the country’s first full heart transplant in December 2017.

However, this is the first time that both lungs are removed and transplanted in a patient.

Dr Rakesh Suri, chief executive of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, said the surgeries showed the importance of fostering a culture of organ donation in the country.

“It’s worth reflecting on the incredible contribution that the donor and the donor’s family have made by sharing their precious organs — four lives have been transformed by this selfless gift.

“We will continue to work with the relevant authorities to support the development of a nationwide transplant list and donor management network, so that more patients will be able to benefit from this life-saving opportunity.”

A history of organ transplants in the UAE

September 2016: A law allowing organ transplantation from living people and the deceased is passed.

September 24, 2017: Dr Bashir Sankari, Head of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s transplant program and Chief of the Surgical Subspecialties Institute, performs the hospital’s first deceased kidney transplant on a 40-year-old female Emirati patient.

December 5, 2017: The UAE’s first full heart transplant is performed by a surgical team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. The same day, a patient receives a kidney from the same deceased donor, while a patient at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City receives the second kidney.

February 1, 2018: A five-person medical and surgical team led by Dr Antonio Pinna, Transplant Surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, perform the UAE’s first liver transplant.

February 11, 2018: Dr Redha Souilamas performs the UAE’s first single-lung transplant.

June 10, 2018: Multidisciplinary surgical teams perform three transplant surgeries on the same day —  liver, kidney and the UAE’s first double-lung surgery.