Abu Dhabi: In efforts to reduce overseas travel for medical requirements in the UAE, a Multi-Organ Transplant Programme is now being offered in Shaikh Khalifa Medical City managed by Cleveland Clinic.

The first two kidney transplants were recently performed by Dr Abrar Khan, the new Director of Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery, Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) and a multi-organ transplant surgeon-scientist. Both donor operations were done laparoscopically.

Khan will develop the Multi-Organ Transplant Programme. He has previously done research on basic mechanisms of tolerance induction in transplantation at Harvard Medical School and joined the PhD programme in Immunology at Yale University.

Multidisciplinary team

SKMC now houses a multidisciplinary transplant team, comprising a coordinator and a transplant pharmacist. Transplant coordinators, social workers, transplant database managers and a second transplant surgeon are due to join the team.

"Starting with two kidney transplants this week indicates that we have the infrastructure to perform at least two transplants a week. The capacity will be expanded in the near future. I am very excited with our progress and am confident that, with the support of [the Health Authority Abu Dhabi] Haad, [Abu Dhabi Health Services Company] Seha and ... SKMC, we will be able to create a Multi-Organ Transplant Programme that will equal any other in the United States or Europe," said Khan.

"Dr Abrar Khan and the transplantation team are considered the first permanent team fully dedicated to organ transplantation in Abu Dhabi.

"Hiring them at SKMC shows the will of SKMC and Seha to continue offering the service in the long-term, which will also include liver, pancreas, heart, lung, and small bowel transplantations. SKMC will take the lead in transplantation care in the UAE, offering current, up-to-date treatment protocols under the competent guidance and management of Cleveland Clinic," said Dr Ahmad Mubarak Al Mazroui, Chairman of Haad and Seha.

A preoperative work-up is also available with post operative care and immunosuppressive drugs that are necessary to prevent rejection of the transplanted organ.

"A transplant is always easier for the patient and quite safe in the long run," Dr Kenneth Ouriel, CEO of SKMC, said.