First liver transplant in Dubai saves life of 38-year-old woman


Dubai: In a historic medical achievement, the first liver transplant surgery performed in Dubai saved the life of a 38-year-old woman.

The transplant was performed at King’s College Hospital in Dubai on November 29 and the patient is doing well after the surgery, it was announced on Wednesday.

The family of a brain-dead patient donated the latter’s liver, which was transplanted into the recipient’s body in a four-hour surgery. A team from King’s College Hospital, London, flew in to lead the surgery alongside experts from the centre’s Dubai branch.

Dr Marwan Al Mulla, Executive Director of Health Regulation Sector at Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said this marks the next phase of organ transplantation in Dubai.

He recalled that a generous donation from the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the United Arab Emirates, in 1979, had enabled King’s College Hospital in London to become one of the top three centers in the world for liver transplants.

Dr Al Mulla hailed the hospital’s Dubai branch achievement as an important addition to the emirate’s healthcare achievements, saying it was in line with the rapid transformations and successive qualitative advancements towards healthcare sustainability in Dubai.

“The operation exemplifies the city’s ability to handle sophisticated medical procedures and reaffirms its commitment to pioneering a sustainable and progressive healthcare system.”

autoimmune hepatitis

Dr Tashfeen Siddiq Ali, medical director and consultant of emergency medicine at King’s College Hospital London-Dubai, said the patient was discharged from the hospital in very good health just ten days after the surgery, marking a milestone. recognized by the DHA.

Dr Ali said the patient had developed advanced liver disease which had severely damaged her liver.

He was diagnosed with a rare liver condition known as autoimmune hepatitis, in which the body’s immune system attacks the liver, causing liver damage and ultimately liver failure.

Six months before surgery, the patient had presented symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the eyes), swelling in the legs and abdomen, with no history of liver disease. Despite attempts at medication, her condition continued to deteriorate, leading to liver cirrhosis and signs of liver failure. Therefore, liver transplantation was considered the best treatment.

To ensure her suitability for transplant, the patient underwent extensive pre-transplant evaluations to confirm the absence of other health conditions and her ability to safely undergo the procedure.

“We are extremely grateful to the donor’s family. The organ arrived on time and the donor was shifted to our hospital for transplant,” Dr Ali said.

surgical equipment

The meticulous surgical procedure 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, along with his London team and Dr. Rakesh Rai, Surgeon liver transplant at King’s College Hospital London. in Dubai.

Dr Ali said expert doctors had performed hundreds of liver transplant surgeries in London.

“Liver transplant is an option for some patients suffering from liver cancer, and is the only life-saving option for patients experiencing acute liver inflammation, which can lead to acute liver failure. This can occur due to infections “virals, medications or unknown diseases. causes,” he stated.

He explained that patients with severe liver problems often require high-quality care in specialized liver intensive care units associated with liver transplant units. “The liver care center at King’s College Hospital London in Dubai is home to a specialized team of trained and experienced professionals who provide care to liver patients, including those with chronic diseases, liver cirrhosis, acute liver failure, pancreatic diseases, liver cancer and cancer. of pancreas. ,” he said.

582 transplants so far

Dr Ali Al Obaidi, Chairman of the UAE National Transplant Committee, said Dubai’s achievement in liver transplantation is an occasion to celebrate the success of the national life-saving programme.

He said that the national organ and tissue donation and transplantation program “Hayat” works to promote organ and tissue donation and transplantation in accordance with the highest standards.

“From 2017 to now, we have transplanted 582 organs, including 328 kidneys, 199 livers, 16 hearts, 26 lungs and 13 pancreases. Some of them included combined organ transplants, i.e. kidney and liver, or kidney and pancreas, etc.,” Dr. Al Obaidi announced.

The vast majority of these transplant surgeries have been performed at various renowned organ transplant centers in Abu Dhabi.

Dr. Al Obaidi said that the donors and recipients belonged to 52 nationalities and various religions, reflecting human solidarity, tolerance and coexistence in the country.

“Our law says that organ donation and transplantation should be offered to everyone, regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender, social status or income. And this is a recipe for success: ensuring that this program is from everyone to everyone.”

Furthermore, Dr. Al Mulla noted that the organ donation rate in Dubai increased to 117.7 percent in the current year compared to last year, and the number of donors increased to 37 cases in 2023 compared to 17 cases in 2022.


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