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surgery for the patient who received the heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. COURTESY Cleveland Clinic Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi

A 71-year-old Emirati mother of 18 children has become the first patient in the UAE to benefit from a minimally invasive procedure to treat a heart defect.

Moza Al Kaabi’s mitral valve regurgitation – a defective heart valve that results in the backward flow of blood into the heart while pumping – had severely affected her quality of life, leading to repeated hospital stays during the last year.

Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi opted for the innovative new surgery, which involved accessing the patient’s heart through a vein in the leg and implanting a device to repair the defective mitral valve. Traditionally, mitral valve repairs have called for open heart surgery.

The procedure was performed by Dr Dr Rakesh Suri, chief executive officer at the hospital, and Dr Mahmoud Traina, interventional cardiologist.

“The day after my surgery I was amazed, I could walk around and even climbed a flight of stairs for the first time in years. I thank God for my recovery…,” Al Kaabi said.

Following the successful surgery, she has now gained a place on the kidney transplant list to treat her renal complication.

Another Emirati patient had also undergone the procedure at the hospital.

According to a statement sent by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, the hospital is one of the first in the world to introduce the procedure after clinical trials. While the surgery is available in Europe, patients in the US still do not have access to it.

“[Regulators in Abu Dhabi are very responsive] to the needs of the local community. When we approached them about this procedure and presented our supporting evidence, we got approval in just a few weeks. That speed means that our patients are able to access the innovative procedures when they need it, and benefit from new treatments much earlier than they might be in other parts of the world,” Dr Traina said.

Mitral valve regurgitation is a common valve defect across the world. It affects five in every 10,000 people in the United States alone.