The region’s first Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM) provides minimally-invasive alternative to open surgery.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala’s network of world-class healthcare providers, announced today that it has performed the region’s first Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM) procedure. The procedure was performed as an alternative to open or laparoscopic surgery for a patient with achalasia, a swallowing disorder.
POEM is an endoscopic procedure used to treat a variety of swallowing disorders, most commonly achalasia, a condition where the esophagus is unable to push food into the stomach due to tightened muscles. Achalasia is a rare disease, affecting from 0.6 to 1.1 in 100,000 people. Common symptoms of achalasia include, but are not limited to, difficulty swallowing, regurgitation of undigested food, chest pain and heartburn. The entire POEM procedure is done using an endoscope – a long, thin, flexible tube with surgical instruments on the end – which the endoscopist uses to divide the esophageal muscles that cause swallowing problems. POEM is performed entirely through the mouth alone under general anesthesia, and takes between one to two hours to complete.
The patient, who has suffered from achalasia for more than 10 years, battled symptoms of frequent regurgitations and difficulty swallowing. He has recovered well and has seen an improvement in his swallowing, allowing him to return to his normal lifestyle within just a few days of the procedure.
Only a limited number of medical centers across the world, including US-based Cleveland Clinic, offer this less-invasive approach to treating swallowing disorders. It is a relatively new, minimally invasive treatment performed by highly skilled endoscopists, and offers patients the benefits of no incisions in the chest or abdomen, as well as reduced or no hospital stay following the procedure. Instead of having to travel abroad, UAE patients can now receive this treatment closer to home.
The procedure was performed by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Dr. Mohammad Al Haddad, director of endoscopy, and Dr. Kevin El-Hayek, staff physician, general surgery, and was proctored by Dr. Matthew Kroh, director of surgical endoscopy at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, US. Dr. Al Haddad has more than 14 years of experience in gastroenterology, both regionally and in the US, and specializes in the treatment of pancreatic disease and advanced endoscopic procedures. Dr. El-Hayek has more than 10 years of experience in surgery in the areas of advanced minimally invasive surgery, benign and malignant upper gastrointestinal diseases, and surgical endoscopy. Both Dr. Al Haddad and Dr. El-Hayek completed a comprehensive training program on the POEM surgery at Cleveland Clinic, led by Dr. Kroh, who heads one of the limited number of programs globally that perform and train others in the procedure.
“We’re thrilled to be introducing the POEM procedure to patients in the UAE and wider region. The procedure provides multiple advantages for our patients with swallowing disorders for a quick and safe improvement in their quality of life,” said Dr. Al Haddad. “This surgery demonstrates Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s aim to offer some of the most advanced treatments in the world to the UAE community, enabled by our collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, one of the top hospitals in the United States, which ranks second in gastroenterology and GI surgery, according to US News & World Report.”