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21 April 2024

Dubai Health Authority announces first successful liver transplant surgery in the emirate

Published
By E247

- Dubai Health Authority announces first successful liver transplant surgery in the emirate
In a remarkable milestone that further strengthens Dubai’s status as a leading global healthcare destination, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) announced the first successful liver transplant surgery on a 38-year-old woman in the emirate.

The four-hour surgery conducted by a medical team at King’s College Hospital London in Dubai represents a significant achievement for the advancement of transplant services, positioning Dubai at the forefront of organ transplantation both regionally and globally.

At a press conference held on Wednesday, DHA announced details of the meticulous surgery that was led by Dr. Parthi Srinivasan, Chief Transplant Surgeon and Clinical Lead at King’s College Hospital London and Director of Liver Transplant Services in Dubai. He was joined by his team from London and Dr. Rakesh Rai, a liver transplant surgeon based in Dubai from King's College Hospital London.

Just ten days after undergoing a surgical procedure, the patient was discharged in excellent health. The distinguished medical team at King’s College Hospital London in Dubai performed the surgery following the diagnosis of the patient's rare liver condition, autoimmune hepatitis. This condition involves the body's immune system attacking the liver, resulting in liver damage and eventual failure.

Six months prior to the surgery, the patient had exhibited symptoms including jaundice (yellowing of the eyes), swelling in her legs and abdomen, without any previous history of liver disease. Despite attempts with medication, her condition continued to deteriorate, leading to liver cirrhosis and signs of liver failure. Thus, liver transplant was deemed the best course of treatment.

To ensure her suitability for the transplant, the patient underwent comprehensive pre-transplant evaluations to confirm the absence of any other health conditions and her ability to safely undergo the procedure. The liver transplant was successfully conducted on 29 November, 2023, using a liver from a deceased donor, with the consent of the donor's family.

Dr. Marwan Al Mulla, CEO of the Health Regulation Sector at the DHA, said that the success of the procedure reflects the remarkable progress of Dubai’s healthcare sector. He underscored the considerable efforts undertaken by the Authority to ensure the highest standards of safety, quality and innovation in healthcare services.

Dr. Al Mulla added that liver transplant signifies a noteworthy achievement in Dubai's medical landscape, highlighting the city's leading position in delivering advanced and complex medical interventions. The surgery serves as a testament to the city's capacity to handle sophisticated medical procedures, reaffirming its dedication to pioneering a sustainable and progressive healthcare system, he said.

Dr. Al Mulla highlighted DHA’s efforts to support the National Programme for Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation ‘Hayat’, in collaboration with the National Center for Organ and Tissue Donation. 

The Health Regulation Sector at DHA approved the liver transplant programme at King's College Hospital London in Dubai, establishing it as the first liver transplant centre in Dubai. The hospital houses a highly-skilled transplant team that provides a multidisciplinary approach to closely work with patients before, during and after the transplant procedure to ensure they receive optimal medical care and achieve the best possible outcomes.

During the press conference, Dr. Al Mulla highlighted a notable increase in the organ donation rate in Dubai, revealing a surge of 117.7% in 2023 compared to the previous year. The number of donors rose significantly, reaching 37 cases in 2023, compared to 17 cases in 2022. 

Dr. Al Mulla also elaborated on the 2026 health sector strategy in Dubai, which strives to foster a healthier lifestyle among the city's residents. This strategy aims to establish a leading healthcare system cantered on human-centric care, prioritising patient confidence, safety, quality and care for both patients and their families. Additionally, it aspires to position Dubai as a unique destination for value-based healthcare, setting a model for healthcare governance, integration and organisation.

Speaking about the 'Hayat' national programme, Dr. Ali Al Obaidli, Chairman of the UAE National Transplant Committee, emphasised the programme's commitment to promoting organ and tissue donation and transplantation in accordance with the highest standards.

Dr. Al Obaidli said that the 'Hayat' programme brings together numerous local and global stakeholders to work together to save lives, enhance community health and safety and improve overall quality of life. The programme is the result of a collaborative effort involving several federal and local institutions, including the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention; the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi; the Dubai Health Authority; Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA); Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi; and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, among various other public and private healthcare institutions.

Furthermore, Dr. Al Obaidli underscored that the 'Hayat' programme demonstrates social solidarity and compassion by offering transplantation opportunities to individuals facing organ failure, regardless of their nationality. To date, the programme has benefited over 52 different nationalities.

Dr. Tashfeen Siddiq Ali, Chief Medical Officer and Emergency Medicine Consultant at King's College Hospital London in Dubai, said: “Liver transplantation is an option for some patients suffering from liver cancer, and it is the only life-saving choice for patients experiencing acute liver inflammation, which can lead to acute liver failure. This can occur due to viral infections, medications, or unknown causes.”

He explained that patients with serious liver problems often require high-quality care in specialised liver intensive care units associated with liver transplant units. He clarified that the liver care centre at King's College Hospital London in Dubai houses a specialised team of skilled and experienced professionals who provide care for liver patients, including those with chronic diseases, liver cirrhosis, acute liver failure, pancreatic diseases, liver cancer and pancreatic cancer.

The successful completion of the liver transplant surgery in Dubai not only brings hope and relief to the patient and her family but also demonstrates the city's growing capabilities in providing advanced, life-saving medical procedures, thereby enhancing its status as a global healthcare destination.