These surgeries were the first instance of live donor transplants in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Mediclinic City Hospital, in partnership with Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) and Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, carried out the first living donor kidney transplant surgeries under the MBRU Organ Transplant Programme, making it the first for Mediclinic City Hospital and Al Jalila Children’s.

The team also carried out five transplants in 10 days.

Two of these live donor surgeries were carried out in November at the Mediclinic City Hospital in partnership with MBRU and Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital. These surgeries were the first instance of live donor transplants in Dubai. A third living donor kidney transplant was carried out earlier last month by the MBRU team along with Dr Suad Sajwani at the Al Qassimi Hospital at the under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Prevention. In addition, the MBRU team also carried out two deceased donor kidney transplants at the Mediclinic City Hospital and Al Jalila Children’s.

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Meanwhile, a senior transplant surgeon from MBRU urged all Dubai residents to pledge their organs for donation through the Hayat App. Pledge your organs on Hayat App

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Farhad Janahi Assistant Professor of Surgery at MBRU and Consultant Urological and Transplant Surgeon at Mediclinic City Hospital said, “Performing living donor kidney transplants is a new dawn for our patients with kidney failure and asserts our medical and surgical teams’ capabilities. Ever since the kidney transplant programme began in 2016, we have conducted 17 total transplants to date. The transplant programme has been highly successful and given the kidney patients a good chance to be productive members of society and lead a normal family life. I urge people to come out in large numbers to pledge their organs as well kidneys for donation through the Hayat app. The national waiting list for organs, especially the kidney is growing and more and more people need to pledge their organs.”

Live donor organs

Dr Farhad Janahi

On the first live kidney transplant surgery, Dr Janahi said, “The organ donation law allows relatives up to the fourth degree to be living donors for organs such as kidney and people must sign up for this. It will greatly reduce the number of people on dialysis. Currently owing to hypertension and diabetes the rate of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is high in the UAE.”

In the beginning of the year, MBRU, Mediclinic Middle East and Al Jalila Children’s signed a tripartite agreement to collaborate and work together to support the organ transplant efforts in the country under the MBRU Organ Transplant Programme. Today, the three institutions act as one front in this effort.

High rate of success in live donor surgeries

The first surgery was performed on November 14 on a 34-year-old patient who had been on peritoneal dialysis since January 2019 and on the transplant waiting list since July 2019. He underwent a successful transplant surgery using a kidney from a live donor, his wife’s 23-year-old brother.

The second surgery was performed on November 17 on a 41-year-old Emirati female patient who was suffering from polycystic kidney disease. Because of her deteriorated kidney function, she had started haemodialysis in September 2020. Her donor was her 36-year-old old brother, who was a suitable match.

Great teamwork

Dr Waldo Concepcion, Consultant Transplant Surgeon at Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, gave full credit of the success of the surgeries to the transplant team. “The success of performing these live donor transplants in Dubai is an ultimate demonstration of collaboration and team efforts of three institutions, pulling together all their resources and delivering the best health care for patients.”

Dr Ramzi Ayache, Consultant Nephrologist at Mediclinic City Hospital further said, “The launch of the living kidney donor transplant programme aims to shorten the time the patient spends on a donor waiting list, improve long-term kidney survival because of a better genetic matching, avoid initiation of dialysis when possible and schedule in advance the day of transplantation when donor and patient are ready.”

Strict evaluation criteria

Explaining the long process to assess the donor and check if the recipient is a good match, Dr Ayache threw light on the strict evaluation criteria. “After a strict evaluation before approval, the family member will donate only one kidney to his relative with failed kidneys. The remaining kidney compensates for the loss of one kidney and allows him to have a normal life.”