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UAE’s first double-lung transplant surgery
By A Staff Reporter June 25, 2018
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ABU DHABI: Multidisciplinary teams of surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala’s network of healthcare providers, have performed three transplant surgeries from a deceased donor on the same day, including the UAE’s first double-lung transplant.

The surgeries at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi – double-lung, liver and kidney – took place on June 10, and a kidney from the same donor was transported for a transplant operation at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.

Double-lung transplants, also known as bilateral transplants, see both lungs removed and replaced with donor organs.

In performing the first double-lung transplant, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi continues its progress as the UAE’s first and only multi-organ transplant centre, working in partnership with other organisations to help improve the health of the community. Earlier in 2018, the hospital performed successful lung and liver transplants, following on from the country’s first full heart transplant in December 2017.

Dr Redha Souilamas, Chair of Thoracic Surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, led the double-lung transplant, assisted by a multidisciplinary team of 10 specialists, including cardiothoracic surgeons, pulmonologists, anesthesiologists and critical care nurses.  The double-lung transplant patient, a 45-year-old expatriate female, had been suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). A progressive disease that causes extensive scarring of the lungs, there is no cure for IPF and patients are typically given a three- to five-year survival rate after diagnosis without transplant surgery.

“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, which lasted five-and-a-half hours. The patient is breathing on her own and is smiling and talking.”

To complete the operation, the surgical team used an innovative, minimally invasive approach without the need for a cardiopulmonary bypass, making two small incisions on either side of the patient’s chest.

This ensures a faster recovery time; shorter hospital stay; and little to no scarring compared with the standard approach.

“The success of this surgery means that Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is now able to offer both single and complex double-lung transplants under its comprehensive multi-organ transplant program. We are proud to provide such a high-level standard of healthcare to all people in the UAE, and to have achieved this milestone in less than three years demonstrates the remarkable progress that Abu Dhabi is making as a healthcare hub,” Dr Souilamas added.

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