Kidney transplant_4-1626079265491
Surgeons perform a kidney transplant at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has performed more than 150 organ transplants till date, with the milestone being reached just four years after the hospital introduced its multi-organ transplant programme.

Since 2017, the hospital has performed 82 kidney transplants, 52 liver transplants, 10 heart transplants, six lung transplants, three combined pancreas-kidney transplants, and one combined kidney-liver transplant. “It is humbling to see the life-changing impact our transplant program has had on patients and their families across the UAE. That we have reached this 150 organ transplant milestone during the centennial year [of the Cleveland Clinic in the United States] is a fantastic acknowledgement of the legacy of innovation and patient-centred care we are continuing here in Abu Dhabi,” said Dr. Bashir Sankari, director of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s transplant programme.

Expanding organ supply

Despite growing numbers of registered organ donors, demand continues to outpace supply and there remains a long waiting list of patients who require a transplant. In order to mitigate the impact of this and offer a fresh lifeline to patients waiting for a new liver, the hospital’s multidisciplinary transplant team worked with their colleagues at Cleveland Clinic in the United States to introduce complex living related liver transplants that enable relatives to donate part of their liver to family members in need.

This step has meant that 22 patients have been able to access life-saving transplants without needing to wait for a compatible donor organ to become available. The impact of this introduction has spread beyond the UAE, with patients travelling from abroad to access living related transplant services. Recently, a 14-year-old patient travelled to Abu Dhabi from Sudan so that he could receive part of his brother’s liver.

Kidney transplant_5 (1)-1626079267084
The hospital’s multidisciplinary transplant team worked with their colleagues at Cleveland Clinic in the US to introduce complex living related liver transplants. Image Credit: Supplied

“The introduction of living related liver donation has been a huge boost to some of the country’s sickest patients. We are building on that success with the introduction of combined organ transplants that see patients receive two new organs in a single surgery. We are very proud to be among just a handful of centers in the world able to offer this highly complex level of care,” said Dr. Luis Campos, director of the liver transplant programme and head of hepatobiliary surgery at the hospital.

First pancreas transplant

Surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi performed the UAE’s first pancreas transplant in a combined operation that also saw a young woman receive a new kidney. Following the successful surgery, the patient is no longer reliant on insulin injections to control her blood sugar and has effectively been cured of her diabetes. Since her operation, two more patients have received combined kidney and pancreas transplants. Surgeons at the hospital also performed the nation’s first combined liver and kidney transplant.

“Caregivers from across Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi come together to form the backbone of our multidisciplinary transplant programme. Their and our donors’ contributions to the health and future of our community cannot be overstated. Each successful operation is another person who can return home to his or her life and family, and I am so proud of every caregiver who helps to make that happen,” Dr. Sankari said.