Living Related Liver Transplant Operations that are Changing Lives in the UAE
The living related liver transplant was one of the three living organ donations conducted back-to-back at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in October 2018, in a busy week that saw a total of six multi-organ transplant operations conducted at the hospital.
One of the most complex forms of transplant surgery, living related liver operations involve surgeons taking a section of a related donor’s healthy liver and transplanting it into the sick patient.
Living donors in the UAE should be related to the patient, and in many cases a son or daughter donates part of their healthy organ to a parent. Following the first living related liver transplant in the hospital in July 2018, the specialist transplant team has continued to work with patients and their families to help them understand the range of options available.
Dr. Antonio Pinna, Staff Physician in the Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi who led the surgical team, explains: “A liver transplant is the last resort on the treatment spectrum and finding deceased donors can be a challenge. By adding living related transplant options, we are increasing the range of treatments available and also providing hope for patients in final stage organ failure.”
“Over a short period of time, the team were able to operate on three patients who received liver donations from relatives, and a fourth patient who received a deceased donor liver. In each case, the patients and the living donors are recovering well,” he added.
Waleed Ahmed Al Hadrami, the donor, said: “When I found out how sick my father was and that the only thing that would save his life was a liver transplant, I didn’t need to think about it – of course I would share my liver with him.”
He added: “At first, I was apprehensive about the procedure but as soon as I met the doctor, saw the level of expertise and technology, and the professional approach, I felt at ease. It felt good to be able to be able to do this for my father.”
The patient, Ahmed Al Hadrami, a father on nine, is recovering well. He commented: “I am so pleased that I had a transplant here in Abu Dhabi with my family around me. It has helped my recovery a lot and ensured the operation did not disrupt our family life too much. I did consider undergoing surgery abroad but when we discussed it, the most practical option was to have the surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.”
“Our leaders have done a remarkable thing by bringing this hospital to the United Arab Emirates,” he added.
Dr. Bashir Sankari, Chair of the Surgical Subspecialities Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, said: “Our transplant program continues to evolve, with the support of partner hospitals and the nation’s medical authorities, and building on the transplant expertise of Cleveland Clinic in the US. It provides the sickest and most complex patient cases with the gift of life through transplant.”
From January 2019, UAE residents have been able to download the Hayat app and register as potential donors after their death. The app can be accessed via smart and android phones.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is the only multi-organ transplant facility in the UAE. The hospital completed its first living related donor kidney transplant in April 2017 and has subsequently performed heart, liver and lung transplants. The facility employs a highly-skilled team of surgeons and caregivers who collectively have performed thousands of transplants throughout their varied medical careers.