Transplant Surgeries Build on Cleveland Clinic’s 100 Year Legacy of Innovation

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, has reached a milestone of performing more than 150 transplants since the introduction of its multi-organ transplant program in 2017.

The UAE’s sole multi-organ transplant center, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi performed the UAE’s first heart, liver, lung and pancreas transplants. In addition, the hospital’s transplant center recently began performing complex dual transplant surgeries, the first in the UAE. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has now performed 82 kidney transplants, 52 liver transplants, 10 heart transplants, 6 lung transplants, 3 combined pancreas and kidney transplants and a combined kidney and liver transplant.

“It is humbling to see the life-changing impact our transplant program has had on patients and their families across the UAE. That we have reached this 150 transplant milestone during Cleveland Clinic’s centennial year is a fantastic acknowledgement of the legacy of innovation and patient-centered care we are continuing here in Abu Dhabi. When we opened our doors just five years ago, we couldn’t have imagined our transplant program would have touched so many lives this quickly,” says Dr. Bashir Sankari, Director of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s transplant program.

Despite growing numbers of registered organ donors, demand continues to outpace supply and there remains a long waiting list of patients who require a transplant. In order to mitigate the impact of this and offer a fresh lifeline to patients waiting for a new liver, the hospital’s multidisciplinary transplant team worked with their colleagues at Cleveland Clinic in the United States to introduce complex living related liver transplants that enable relatives to donate part of their liver to family members in need. 

The introduction of living related liver donation has meant that 22 patients have been able to access life-saving transplants without needing to wait for a compatible donor organ to become available. The impact of this introduction has spread beyond the UAE, with patients travelling from abroad to access living related transplant services. Recently, a 14-year-old patient travelled to Abu Dhabi from Sudan so that he could receive part of his brother’s liver.

“The introduction of living related liver donation has been a huge boost to some of the country’s sickest patients. We are building on that success with the introduction of combined organ transplants that see patients receive two new organs in a single surgery. We are very proud to be among just a handful of centers in the world able to offer this highly complex level of care that has the ability to completely transform a patient’s life, particularly when a pancreas transplant frees a patient from the need for daily insulin injections,” says Dr. Luis Campos, director of the liver transplant program and head of hepatobiliary surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

Surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi performed the UAE’s first pancreas transplant in a combined operation that also saw a young woman receive a new kidney. Following the successful surgery, the patient is no longer reliant on insulin injections to control her blood sugar and has effectively been cured of her diabetes. Since her operation, two more patients have received combined kidney and pancreas transplants. Surgeons at the hospital also performed the nation’s first combined liver and kidney transplant.

“Caregivers from across Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi come together to form the backbone of our multidisciplinary transplant program. Their and our donors’ contributions to the health and future of our community cannot be overstated. Each successful operation is another person who can return home to his or her life and family, and I am so proud of every caregiver who helps to make that happen,” concludes Dr. Sankari.

About Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi:

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, is a multispecialty hospital on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is a unique and unparalleled extension of US-based Cleveland Clinic’s model of care, specifically designed to address a range of complex and critical care requirements unique to the Abu Dhabi population.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has the following Institutes: Heart & Vascular, Neurological, Digestive Disease, Eye, Respiratory, Critical Care, Surgical Subspecialties, Medical Subspecialties, Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Imaging, Quality & Patient Safety, and Clinical & Nursing. In all, more than 40 medical and surgical specialties are represented at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

The facilities at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi combine state-of-the-art amenities and world-class service standards. The hospital is a 394 (expandable to 490) bed facility, with five clinical floors, three diagnostic and treatment levels, and 13 floors of critical and acute inpatient units. It is a physician-led medical facility served by North American/European Board Certified (or equivalent) physicians. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides patients in the region direct access to the world’s best healthcare providers and Cleveland Clinic’s unique model of care, reducing their need to travel abroad for treatment.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi – Al Ain began offering select medical services in December 2017. The facility is located on the Tawam Hospital Campus in Al Ain.

About Mubadala Health:

Mubadala Health is the integrated healthcare network of Mubadala Investment Company. Established in 2021, Mubadala Health operates, manages, and develops a portfolio of healthcare assets including: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Healthpoint, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), Amana Healthcare, National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Capital Health Screening Centre (CHSC), Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre (ADTC), Danat Al Emarat, HealthPlus Diabetes & Endocrinology Center, HealthPlus Family Clinics, HealthPlus Fertility, HealthPlus Women’s Health Center, Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, and a stake in Al Meswak Dental Clinics Group. With a vision to transform the regional healthcare landscape, Mubadala Health sets a new benchmark for the UAE and regional healthcare industry through its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class caregivers who strive to put patients first across its continuum of care. Innovation, research, and education are the foundational pillars of Mubadala Health, supporting the further development of a sustainable healthcare sector in line with the vision of Abu Dhabi and the region.