Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of the M42 network, completes a complex multiorgan transplant on a patient diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Living with a severe dysfunction of both her lungs and liver, this complex procedure was Nada’s only option to regain the prospects of a normal life.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic (inherited) disease that causes sticky, thick mucus to accumulate in organs, including the lungs and the pancreas, clogging the airways and making it difficult to breathe. As the disease progresses, it also affects the liver, intestines, and other parts of the body.
Hailing from Giza, Egypt, 23-year-old Nada was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis since infancy and had faced a continuous deterioration of her health over the years, leading to comorbidities such as diabetes, fatty liver leading to cirrhosis, and progressive lung disease. Despite the challenges, she displayed remarkable determination and resilience in pursuing her studies in biomedical engineering and even establishing a non-profit organization to support other cystic fibrosis patients in her home country.
Before learning about the possibility of a transplant and coming to the UAE, Nada had sadly lost three of her siblings to the disease. “The loss of my first brother before my birth, followed by my second sister when I was very young, and then my third brother during my time in middle school had a profound impact on me. It was during the passing of my last brother that I began to understand the nature of cystic fibrosis and started delving into research about it. After a year of my brother's passing, I was admitted to the ICU when I overheard the doctors discussing with my parents the severity of my condition and expressing their helplessness,” Nada says.
Recognizing the complexity of her case, her doctors recommended Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, renowned for its advanced medical complex care capabilities and expertise in organ transplantation. “The decision to travel and undergo this surgery was daunting, but I was determined to seize the opportunity for a better life,” Nada shares.
Dr. Usman Ahmad, Department Chair of Thoracic Surgery at the Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, led the team of multidisciplinary medical professionals who performed the multiorgan transplant. The surgery, which took approximately 14 hours, involved replacing Nada’s both lungs and liver, addressing the cumulative effects of cystic fibrosis on these vital organs.
Dr. Ahmad comments, “Nada’s case was a challenging and complex undertaking. The chances of overall survival of a cystic fibrosis patient after a combined lung and liver transplant are better than those cases where only a lung transplant is conducted as antibodies and proteins from the existing liver do not attack the newly transplanted lungs if it comes from the same donor. Therefore, we proceeded with the double lung transplant which was followed by a liver surgery.”
The multiorgan transplant surgery that was performed this year marked a turning point in Nada's life. She no longer requires constant oxygen support and is able to enjoy a near-normal life. “This surgery has given me a newfound lease on life,” Nada says. “I am filled with gratitude for the skilled medical team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, my family, and the countless well-wishers who believed in me. I now look forward to living life to the fullest and I am writing a book that aims to instill hope in people battling life-threatening diseases and make them believe that anything is possible.” Nada's story serves as an inspiration to many patients, instilling hope and reinforcing the value of organ donation.
This announcement comes as Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi records the completion of 500 transplants to date since the launch of the Transplant Center at the hospital in 2017.
For more information on Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Transplant Center visit, https://www.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae/en/institutes-and-specialties/transplant-center
To book an appointment at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, call 800 8 CCAD (2223) visit www.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae or download the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Patient Portal App.