Stroke centre cleveland clinic-1688398310389
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Gulf News File

Abu Dhabi: The Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector in the Emirate, announced Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) as Centres of Excellence for stroke in the Emirate.

Both facilities classify as Stroke Centres for their ability to provide high quality and exceptional levels of stroke care through a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) of licensed and trained professionals in cerebrovascular and neurological disease across all associated disciplines including Emergency Medicine, Stroke Neurology, Interventional Neuroradiology, Cerebrovascular surgery, Diagnostic Neuroradiology and Diagnostic Radiology.

WAM Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City-1680761027550
Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City. Image Credit: WAM

Further to providing rapid response to stroke emergencies, other facilities within the Emirate, which have a 24-hour emergency department equipped with hyperacute imaging, along with intravenous thrombolysis services, will be deemed as Stroke Ready centres.


When a patient in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is sought to have early symptoms of a stroke, they will be promptly transported to the nearest stroke-ready centre for stabilisation. Once the patient is in stable condition, they will then be transferred to the nearest CoE based on their location.

In the presence of Mansoor Ibrahim Al Mansoori, Chairman of the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH), Hasan Jasem Al Nowais, Group CEO and Managing Director of “M42” and Dr. Noura Al Ghaithi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH), the Centre of Excellence plaques were awarded at the Department’s headquarters.

Dr. Noura Al Ghaithi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH), said, “The Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH) continues adopting a patient-centric approach when delivering world-class healthcare services, alongside enhancing the response time to all healthcare emergencies including stroke response. Through the CoE programme, we aim to improve the quality of life of our community members and safeguard their health based on international standards and best practices in healthcare.

Following the announcement of Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center (ADSCC) as a centre of excellence in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH) is delighted to add Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) to its renowned list of distinguished Centres of Excellence (CoE), which establishes a high standard for excellence in healthcare and outstanding patient experience across various specialities and disciplines, which encourages a positive competition in the sector, and seeks to improve health outputs in the Emirate and beyond.”


CoEs must meet the minimum standard requirements issued by DoH that outline the necessary criteria and prerequisites for licensed healthcare facilities which seek to acquire the designation.

DoH outlined six key indicators that are taken into consideration when evaluating whether the healthcare facility can be recognised as a Centre of Excellence. The indicators cover the following points: clinical outcomes, patient experience, patient safety and quality of medical services, levels of employee competency, and the facilities’ medical education, research strategies, and residency programmes. DoH also assesses the accreditations to determine the healthcare facility’s eligibility to become a CoE.

Serving as evidence of their appointment as the Emirate’s Centres of Excellence for stroke care, SSMC and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi have showcased their exceptional stroke care system which is equipped with an advanced facility infrastructure with diverse clinical services, continuous monitoring of quality and performance, advanced educational and research engagements, international accreditation of the facility, and healthcare professionals’ upskilling with knowledge and expertise.

Angio suite

Dr. Naser Ammash, Chief Executive Officer of SSMC said, “Being recognised as a Centre of Excellence for stroke care is a significant testament to the progress made at SSMC’s Stroke Services including Interventional Neuroradiology.

"Less than a year ago, we inaugurated our state-of-the-art angio suite for diagnosing and treating ischemic strokes, and we have already witnessed outstanding outcomes. During this time, we have performed many cases of Mechanical Thrombectomy. Our Integrated Multispecialty Practice, supported by Education, Research and Innovation, enables our experts to deliver a unique and timely comprehensive multidisciplinary care for a wide range of common and complex neurological conditions.

“At SSMC, we work to exceed international standards and patient expectations while responding to the community’s needs. We are guided by the support of the country’s leadership to propel its healthcare sector forward on a path of medical excellence and world-class patient care. It is a privilege to be designated by the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi as a dedicated Center of Excellence for Stroke in Abu Dhabi. We aspire to cement the Emirate’s position as a leading destination for complex care in the region and beyond.”

State-of-the-art stroke unit

SSMC is home to a 24/7 state-of-the-art stroke unit, which provides multispecialty care from stroke experts with speciality training in: conditions that affect the blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord (cerebrovascular neurologists), Interventional Neuroradiologists, physical medicine and rehabilitation (physiatrists) and emergency medicine. SSMC has recently launched a world-class Biplane Angio Suite for the diagnosis and treatment of ischemic strokes.

The service is under the Division of Interventional Neuroradiology which is part of the Clinical Imaging department. The Interventional Neuroradiologists work closely with the Stroke Unit. This service will cover a large geographical area of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and will provide an essential life-saving procedure which will significantly reduce the long-term or permanent adverse effects of stroke.

Dr. Mumtaz Khan, Chief of Staff and Acting Chief Medical Officer at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, said: “We are proud that the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi has recognised Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi as a Centre of Excellence for stroke care in the Emirate. This is a testament to the multidisciplinary team of experts, the world-class infrastructure, and the clinical and research services that we have built at the Neurovascular Medicine Program and Stroke Centre. Our highly skilled caregivers and cutting-edge technological solutions provide the best clinical outcomes for stroke and other neurological diseases.

"This eliminates the need for people from the UAE to travel abroad for complex care. We will continue to work closely with the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi and other healthcare providers to transform the healthcare sector and position Abu Dhabi as a leading healthcare hub in the region.”

Comprehensive services

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides a range of comprehensive services that offer the latest diagnostic and treatment options for patients with stroke and other cerebrovascular conditions. A team of world-class stroke neurologists, neuro-interventionalists, vascular neurosurgeons and specialists provide personalised care to each patient that is guided by sophisticated imaging techniques such as ARTIS Icono, the most advanced stroke interventional system in the region.

This state-of-the-art A.I. enhanced system ensures faster, more accurate evaluation and treatment for stroke patients, with improved outcomes over more traditional systems.

Alongside expertise and technology, patient experience and safety are other key focus areas for Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Stroke Centre. This has been reflected in the hospital’s clinical processes, where set national and local compliance quality and safety targets are regularly achieved and surpassed.

As of 2022, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that stroke is the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death worldwide. A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, results when blood supply is blocked to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures. Cementing its position as a leading healthcare destination, Abu Dhabi is committed to progressing towards enhancing response time to all healthcare emergencies including stroke response.