Young Emirati Begins New Life Free of Seizures Thanks to Coordinated Care
A young man has a new lease on life, following advanced epilepsy care coordinated between Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Cleveland Clinic in the United States.
Musalem Saleh Al Amri began experiencing seizures at the age of 12, leading his family to take him to their local hospital where he was diagnosed with epilepsy and prescribed medication to control his condition; however, he continued to have seizures once or twice a week.
“My seizures began to rule my life. I didn’t want to spend time with other people because I was worried I would have one in front of them. I felt very alone and scared that I would never be able to live a normal life,” explained Musalem.
When he was 23 years old, Musalem spent a year abroad for treatment to control his seizures, but to no avail. Upon returning to the UAE, he visited Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi where he was admitted for a comprehensive epilepsy evaluation.
“Musalem had a difficult and complex epilepsy and the toll it was taking on him was clear. Working closely with our colleagues in Ohio, we determined that he could benefit from an advanced surgical approach offered in the United States at Cleveland Clinic that would allow surgeons to remove the area of his brain causing seizures, while mapping and preserving neighboring areas critical for important functions ,” said Dr. Deepak Lachhwani , Chair of Neurology in the Neurological Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
Due to the complexity of his case, Musalem underwent a range of advanced imaging tests upon arriving in Cleveland to determine the precise location in his brain causing the seizures and plan the surgery to remove it.
“After reviewing his case, and discussing it with the team in Abu Dhabi, we opted to perform a restricted tailored resection surgery in order to minimize Musalem’s risk of complications. The source of his seizures was in a very sensitive part of his brain, next to areas that control motor and language functions. During the surgery, we used imaging technologies to guide us in removing the source of the seizures without impacting the surrounding areas,” said Dr. Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez, the Cleveland Clinic neurosurgeon who operated on Musalem.
The surgery was a success and Musalem was discharged from the hospital just three days later.
“Musalem’s story demonstrates the full circle of epilepsy treatment available between Abu Dhabi and Ohio, home to one of the largest, most comprehensive epilepsy programs in the world. Even though we are separated by distance, we operate as a single team. Patients in the UAE receive seamless care across the entire spectrum of advanced epilepsy treatments and benefit from the collective experience of the staff at both hospitals,” concluded Dr. Lachhwani.
Epilepsy patients at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi receive coordinated care from their local care team as well as their colleagues at Cleveland Clinic in the United States. Patients admitted to the epilepsy monitoring unit for evaluation of their seizures can be monitored by the epilepsy team in Ohio thanks to a live link between the two hospitals. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s epileptologists and neurosurgeons hold regular videoconference meetings with their colleagues at Cleveland Clinic to discuss their cases and determine the best course of treatment.
Following his surgery, Musalem is seizure-free, increasingly active, and more socially outgoing. Back in Abu Dhabi and continuing his follow-up visits at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Musalem is looking to the future.
“I am excited to find work and build a new life for myself. Choosing surgery was a big step for me but I’m very happy with the results and I recommend it to anyone living in the shadow of seizures.”