Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Set To Perform Record Number of Transplant Operations This October

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Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, is on track to perform a record number of complex transplant procedures in October, saving the lives of critically ill patients and underscoring the vital importance of organ donation in the UAE’s healthcare sector.

In total, the team completed ten transplant operations in the first three weeks of October, delivering on the organization’s promise to provide a regional center of excellence for transplant surgery. The ten transplants include two deceased donor kidney transplants and a deceased donor liver transplant that were performed in a single day.

The multidisciplinary team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi also worked with counterparts from Cleveland Clinic in the U.S. to perform living-donor liver transplant operations this month. In another complex procedure, the team transplanted the kidney and liver of a deceased organ donor to save the life of a 15-year-old patient.

“Such an achievement in successively coordinating and treating so many patients with end-stage organ disease demonstrates the robustness of our transplant program and the confidence and trust of families in our expertise to deliver innovative and compassionate care for their loved ones. Nothing is more gratifying than seeing these patients make remarkable improvements and leave our hospital with a better quality of life,” says Dr. Bashir Sankari, the Director of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s transplant program.

“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,” he added.

Since the start of 2021, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has performed 63 transplants, sometimes multiple procedures in a day, in collaboration with other hospitals in the UAE and the region, and with multidisciplinary teams from the U.S.-based Cleveland Clinic.

In total, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has performed 173 transplant operations since the launch of the program in 2017, with 63 taking place in 2021 so far, making it the busiest transplant year.

Dr. Luis Campos, the Director of Liver Transplant and Hepatobiliary at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, explains that the expansion of the program with the introduction of living-related organ donation and combined organ transplants has enabled them to successfully treat many more high-risk patients from across the region.

“Patients who would otherwise be waiting for months or even years for a deceased donor have another lifeline with our living-related organ donation program. 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. 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,” says Dr. Campos.

In 2018, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi performed its first living-related donor transplant, where an Emirati brother donated a part of his healthy liver to save the life of his younger sister. In 2021, surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi performed the UAE’s first pancreas transplant in a combined operation that also saw a young woman receive a new kidney. The nation’s first combined liver and kidney transplant was also performed at the hospital earlier this year.

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

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