Long Road to Diagnosis for Young UAE National Leads to Treatment at Pioneering Abu Dhabi Hospital
Physicians at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi have successfully diagnosed and begun treatment on a patient with a rare complement deficiency disorder.
The patient, a 27-year-old UAE national, had been suffering from Hereditary Angioedema (HAE), a potentially life-threatening, inherited blood disorder, which is thought to occur in just one in 50,000 people.
Suffering from chronic severe abdominal pain and swelling in his hands and feet over a five-year period, the patient, Ibrahim Yaqoub Ibrahim Alali, sought help from a number of hospitals before being referred to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Medical Subspecialties Institute.
“This patient is the first UAE national to be diagnosed with this rare immunodeficiency at this hospital,” explains Dr. Mohamed Abuzakouk, Consultant in Clinical Immunology and Allergy, who treated the patient. “According to reported ranges, Hereditary Angioedema (HAE) affects between one in 10,000 and one in 150,000 people around the world.”
“Moreover, there are two types of HAE, with type one is more common affecting between 80 per cent and 85 per cent of patients. Type two only occurs in the remaining 15 percent to 20 percent. Our patient had type two HAE, the rare form of this condition,” Dr. Abuzakouk adds.
Symptoms of the rare disorder include swelling in the face, larynx and elsewhere alongside severe, colicky abdominal pain. However, when properly treated patients can generally live long, symptom-free lives.
For Ibrahim, the correct diagnosis and beginning of treatment has brought immediate relief. “I had been suffering from periods of very bad pain for years and my quality of life was very poor. In the last year, I was visiting the emergency department four times a week and had started to lose hope that I would ever feel better,” he said.
“The patient had previously visited several hospitals and undergone a multitude of complicated and sometimes invasive medical tests that had not helped determine his condition. He was brought to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s emergency department during one of his episodes of abdominal pain and subsequently underwent extensive immunological assessment and was successfully diagnosed before commencing the appropriate treatment,” says Dr. Abuzakouk.
The case highlights the value of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s multidisciplinary approach, which brings together experts from across a range of fields to tackle complex cases. The hospital’s Medical Subspecialties Institute covers nine specialties and deploys advanced laboratory testing facilities to cover a broad spectrum of medical needs including rare immunological disorders.
In addition, the diagnosis of this rare condition was made possible by the hospital’s strong international connections with institutions like the US-based Cleveland Clinic and other healthcare leaders around the world.
With his new treatment plan, Ibrahim now only takes medication twice a day, is symptom-free and is enjoying a normal life.
For his part, Ibrahim is thrilled with the care he received at the hospital: “When I reached Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and they told me what was wrong, I could not believe it. Now I have started taking my medication and I feel wonderful. I am so grateful to the doctors for giving me my life back.”
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s patient-centric, physician-led model of care enables its specialist medical staff to provide complex diagnosis and care for patients suffering from rare conditions. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is part of Mubadala’s network of world-class healthcare providers, which work together to address the region’s most pressing healthcare needs. The specialist, world-class healthcare facilities share a commitment to providing the highest level of patient care, building on the core values of quality, excellence and patient safety.