Mubarak had been experiencing unexplained stomach pain, high blood pressure and changes in behavior for a long time. He was then diagnosed with paraganglioma, a very rare and aggressive tumor, affecting only two in every one million people. It begins in the peripheral nervous system, the part of the body that controls functions including blood pressure, heart rate and intestinal movements.
The tumor in Mubarak’s abdomen was sitting next to the aorta – the main artery that carries blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. Any operation in this area is extremely risky. His family visited many hospitals in both the UAE and India, looking for treatment, but due to the complexity of the tumor, no one was convinced they could successfully operate.
The Oncology team in the Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi was confident that they had the expertise needed to save the teenager’s life. The operation turned out to be one of the most complex resections that the team have ever performed.
Surgery required an integrated approach from the Heart & Vascular Institute, Digestive Disease Institute, Anesthesia team, Critical Care team and nursing staff at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. The tumor was in a complex location and close to major organs. The boy’s body had developed alternative blood vessels to compensate for blood flow that the tumor had blocked, and the 6-hour operation required the surgical team to be extremely careful to preserve these during the operation.
The surgery was a complete success and following a course of radiation therapy to reduce the risk of tumors returning in the same area, Mubarak is fully recovered and looking forward to returning to school.
Mubarak says, “I was told by so many hospitals that my surgery was not possible. But at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, they took care of me and took my pain away. I am excited to go to school and play with my friends and hang out after classes. I feel like my health is improving every day. My friends are waiting to see me. I share my progress with them on WhatsApp and hope to join them soon.”
His father adds, “We can’t thank the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi doctors and nurses enough. I want to take a picture with all of them and tell the world that these great people helped my son live pain-free.”
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