First full heart transplant in the UAE a success

By Sheena Amos

ABU DHABI 18 December 2017: Physicians at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala’s network of healthcare providers, have successfully conducted the UAE’s first full heart transplant.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Rakesh Suri, Acting CEO of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Dr. Johannes Bonatti, Chief of the Heart and Vascular Institute, Dr. Stefan Sanger, Clinical Associate, and Dr. Jehad Al Ramahi, Clinical Associate.

The patient, a 38-year-old Emirati man, 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.

Kidney Transplant Too

On the same night, Dr. Bashir Sankari, the 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 passing of the law regulating the transfer and transplantation of organs earlier this year has made a significant impact on enabling such sophisticated operations in the country. In the past, patients had to travel abroad for treatment, but now treatment is more readily available,” he added.

Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, Chairman of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Mubadala Deputy Group CEO, and Chief Executive Officer, Alternative Investments and Infrastructure, said, “We established Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi to provide the UAE people 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. Rakesh Suri, Acting CEO of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, 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.”

The operation received strong support from the UAE National Organ Transplant Committee, who were heavily involved in the preparations for the transplant.