Dr Faouzi Safadi, Consultant Cardiologist, DHA Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai Health Authority has been nominated in two categories for the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart Government Award.

The award is part of the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Programme for Smart Government, and the winning entry will receive the Hamdan Flag to keep for an entire year.

The winner will be chosen among eight finalist government initiatives by popular vote.

DHA initiatives that have been shortlisted for this award are the Dubai Stitch technique and the Smart Pharmacy initiative. 

Dr Faouzi Safadi, Consultant in Cardiothoracic Surgery Department at Dubai Hospital, invented and patented the innovative cardiac technique that helps repair the mitral valve. He termed it the Dubai Stitch as a mark of respect to the city he calls home.

The Lebanese expatriate moved to Dubai in 2012 and has been practising cardiology in Dubai Hospital since then. 

“The idea to do this procedure stemmed from a tie-knot,” says Dr Safadi. “I realised I can use the same concept in cardiology.”

The Dubai Stitch procedure is used when the mitral valve becomes incontinent and in such cases, blood circulation is disturbed. The blood stagnates in the heart, which is dangerous and needs timely intervention to prevent irreversible damage in the heart.

“The permanent difficulty that cardiac surgeons faced before the invention of the Dubai Stitch was the determination of the precise length of the neo-chord [the artificial cord], which is fundamental for the success of such cardiac procedures,” says Dr Safadi. “In the absence of the knowledge of the precise length of the cord, the risk of causing leaflet restriction and residual leaflet prolapse is higher during the repair process and both these conditions are chronic.

“With the addition of this new invention, surgeons are able to understand the precise length of the cord, and the process is further simplified, it is more accurate and easily applicable, which means it can be adopted by surgeons across the world.” 

DHA’s minimally invasive heart surgery using Dubai Stitch Technique achieved prominent results, reducing the length of stay from 15 to 7.3 days and decreasing blood transfusion from three to 0.7 units per case, achieving 0 per cent return to the operation theatre within 24 hours and a 100 per cent success rate with total cost savings of more than Dh2.5 million.

DHA has put Dubai on the world map in repairing the mitral valve, where the technique has spread widely, and was used in more than 150 surgeries worldwide. It was recognised by the International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery as the best innovation in the cardiac minimal invasive scope worldwide this year.

Launched in 2013, the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart Government Award is the first and most prestigious honour to recognise public services in Dubai.