Kidney recipient Khalid and his sister Ayesha. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani, Gulf News

Dubai: In a first for the Dubai Health Authority, a team of surgeons from Dubai Hospital carried out the first living donor kidney transplant on February 10. The donor, 24-year-old lawyer Ayeesha Waleed Marzooq donated her left kidney to her brother, Khalid Waleed Marzooq, 27, it was announced on Tuesday.

The surgery was conducted by a surgical team comprising of 25 people at the Dubai Hospital headed by Dr Yasir Ahemed Al Saeedi, Chief urologist and Robotic surgeon who extracted the organ from the donor.

On the transplant side, Dr Andrea Risailti, Consultant, General Surgery and Chairman of Organ Transplant Committee at DHA and Professor of Surgery at the University of Udine and Dr Zaid Abdul Aziz, General Surgery Consultant and Head of the Bariatric Unit in Dubai Hospital and his team conducted the organ transplant.

First live organ transplant conducted at Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Suchitra Baipai Chaudhury, Senior Reporter

The procdure was deemed a success as the organ started functioning within 24 hours of the transplant. After this DHA has slated a liver transplant soon and is all set to establish a Organ Transplant Centre of Excellence at Dubai Hosptital, revealed top officials.

Sister happy to have saved the life of her brother

Both the donor and recipient are doing well and expressed their relief. “My brother was suffering so much since 2016 since he was on dialysis and I am happy I was able to donate my kidney to save my brother’s life, I am very thankful for Dr Yasir and Dr Andrea, they gave me the positive energy and knowledge I need before the procedure and made me feel comfortable with taking this step to save my brother’s life. My main concern when I woke up from surgery was that my brother feels better and I am happy now that he has a functioning kidney.”

Khalid said: “My health situation was really deteriorating, I used to get tired quickly and I couldn’t walk much. I am really thankful for my sister because my mental and physical health is much better than before.”

NAT 200225 DHA11-1582639001701
DHA surgeons performing first kidney transplant at a DHA facility in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

End stage kidney failure

Khalid was suffering from kidney failure due to an autoimmune disease and was on dialyisis three times a week at the Dubai Hospital.

The procedure of extraction and transplant happened simultaneously where the kidney was extracted by Dr Saeedi, in a minimally invasive procedure and transplanted into the recipient by Dr Risaliti in the neigbouring OT following a six-hour surgery.

Explaining the procedure Dr Amna Khalifa Al Hadari, Consultant and Head of Nephrology Department at Dubai Hospital said: “A kidney transplant is the best option in a patient with end-stage kidney disease. This occurs when kidneys lose around 90 per cent of their ability to filter and remove waste, minerals and fluid from the blood by producing urine. People with kidney failure need to have waste removed from their bloodstream via the dialyisis machine (dialysis) or a kidney transplant to stay alive.”

NAT 200225 DHA1111-1582639003150
Group picture of medical team who performed procedure Image Credit: Supplied

Why live donor organs are more efficient?

Dr Risaliti added: “In this case, the patient was undergoing dialysis since 2016 owing to an auto-immune disease and a simple Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) matching confirmed that the sister was an ideal donor. It is always better to have an organ from a live related donor as that has nearly 93-95 per cent life expectancy. In most cases the patient can expect to live on kidney donated from a live related donor for a period of 20 years.”

Dr Saeedi said he extracted the healthy kidney from the donor using laparoscopic donor nephrectomy and 3D reconstruction and printing. Dubai Hospital is the first hospital to conduct a laparoscopic donor nephrectomy in the UAE.

Dr Saeedi said that 3D reconstruction and printing technology available at the DHA was utilised to create a replica of the kidney to help identify the exact length of the vessels prior to the procedure and so ensure a successful transplant procedure for the recipient. He said: ‘After carefully studying the 3D printed replicas we conducted a laparoscopic donor nephrectomy procedure, which is the internationally preferred procedure for kidney removal in live donors, because it offers quick recovery, less pain, and a shorter hospital stay. The minimally invasive procedure requires four small incisions (each only 1 cm wide) to conduct the procedure. We then enlarged one of the incision to 10cm to remove the kidney,” said Dr Al Saeedi who revealed that the donor’s sister was on her feet the next day and was discharged shortly after.”

While the donor was at the hosptial for four days post surgery, the recipent was discharged after 10 days.

NAT  DHA KIDNEY TRANSPLANT-133-1582638996764
Emirati Khalid Waleed Marzooq who underwent the sergery procedure of 1st living donor kidney transplant donated by his sister Ayesha Waleed Marzooq walks after a press conference at DHA on Tuesday 25 February 2020. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

DHA ready for organ transplant programme

Dr Younis Kazim CEO of the Dubai Healthcare Corporation and Dr Maryam Mohammad Al Rayssi, CEO of Dubai Hospital congratulated the surgery team.

“This is a first step in our transplant programme. We will shortly introduce liver transplant and also cadaver organ trasnplants,” Dr Kazim told Gulf News.

Humaid Al Qutami, Director General of the DHA said the organiation was proud of the accomplishment adding that the success of the first kidney transplant at the DHA is the first step towards implementing its organ transplant strategy and towards establishing a distinguished organ transplant centre.

Currently 300 patients receive dialysis from Dubai and the Northern Emirates at Dubai Hospital. The strategy will help reduce death rates between 48-82 per cent added Qatami.

NAT  DHA KIDNEY TRANSPLANT-143-1582639000013
Dr Yaser Ahmad Abdul Ghafoor Saeedi (right) and Dr Andrea Risaliti explaining the 1st living donor kidney transplant by DHA which was announced on Tuesday 25 February 2020. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani, Gulf News

How many organ transplants carried out in the UAE?

As per the Federal Decree Law No 5 of 2016, on Regulation of Human Organs and Tissue transplantations, the UAE allows transplantation of human organs and tissues from both living donors and the deceased. In case of living donors, the law stiuplates the donor must be legally competent and living donors are restricted to relatives within the fourth degree and couples married for at least two years. The DHA has formed its own organ transplant committee under the law to conduct both live and deceased organ transplants. This particular transplant marks the first transplant surgery carried out under the aegis of DHA.

Since this law came into force the UAE in total has been able to save a total of 74 lives through cadaver organ transplants both within and outside the country. In the UAE alone, 20 deceased donors provided 34 kidney, 10 liver, four lung and seven heart transplants saved 54 lives. The designated Organ transplat centres in UAE are : Shaikh Khalifa Medical City, Cleveland Clinic in Abudhabi, Mediclinic City Hosptial, Al Jalila Children’s Speciality Hospital, Dubai Hospital, all in Dubai and the Al Qassimi Hospital, Sharjah

Under the National Programme for Organ Transplantation, the Ministry of Health and Prevention is in the process of preparing a national donors’ registry. Anyone in the UAE regardless of nationality can become a donor or recipient of an organ during a transplant surgery and the option will be linked to each individual’s Emirates ID.

Residents who are keen to pledge their organs for donation after death can do so on the block-chain based Ministry of Health and Prevention App - Hayati. Expatriates and Emiratis can register for donation Online on or by downloading the app from IOS and Google Play Store