Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Brings Advanced Asthma Therapies to the UAE
Asthma patients in the UAE are breathing easier as Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi brings innovative treatment options to the country, eliminating the need to travel abroad.
Fawzia Al Muhairi has suffered from severe asthma for 18 years and, until recently, was forced to travel to Europe and the United States for the specialized care she required. She travelled to Germany for surgery before being referred to Cleveland Clinic in the United States four years ago.
In response to the growing need for better asthma care and management, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is the first hospital in the UAE to offer bronchial thermoplasty to patients whose condition does not respond to other forms of treatment. The hospital is also the first in the country to begin offering an innovative new drug therapy for the condition.
“Bringing advanced treatments such as bronchial thermoplasty as well as innovative biological therapies to the UAE means that people suffering from severe asthma are now able to receive the care they need closer to home, without disrupting their lives by travelling abroad,” says Dr. Zaid Zoumot, a Pulmonologist at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Respiratory & Critical Care Institute.
Fawzia received bronchial thermoplasty at Cleveland Clinic in the United States four years ago and credits the treatment with greatly reducing her asthma symptoms. Following the opening of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, she has been able to receive her follow-up care in in the UAE.
“When I found that this treatment is available in the UAE, I told my doctors that I want to be treated at home. I chose to stay here as it is so much better than travelling abroad. When you get treated while your family and friends are around you, it’s a great emotional support. I’ve had an excellent experience at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and I feel very comfortable with the team and treatment,” said Fawzia.
Bronchial thermoplasty uses a bronchoscope to deliver short bursts of controlled radiofrequency heat waves to the muscles around the patient’s airway, reducing the muscle mass that spasms and constricts them during asthma attacks, significantly reducing symptoms and asthma attacks.
Due to an underlying condition and severe allergies exacerbated by the ever-present dust in the UAE’s air, Fawzia had been taking oral steroids for over a decade to control her asthma before her doctors offered her an innovative new drug therapy not available at other hospitals in the UAE. After more than 10 years of taking steroid tablets every day, Fawzia has been able to stop taking them completely. She now visits her specialist care team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi every four weeks for a single injection that controls her asthma symptoms.
Switching to the new drug treatment for her asthma, says Fawzia, has transformed her life: “My weight has started to go down and I’m able to be much more active. My life is almost normal now. Before this new treatment, I couldn’t move or go to work. My absence days were more than my work days.”
Asthma affects around 13% of the UAE’s population and can cause a range of symptoms that affect a person’s quality of life. Sufferers experience shortness of breath, chest tightness as well as coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, these symptoms can prevent a person from living a normal life and even be life threatening.