Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi physicians deploy advanced technology to monitor progress of patients around-the-clock   

Diana Barreto

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Cardiac patients continued to receive support even when they were confined to their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the remote heart monitoring program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health.

For Diana Barreto, the advanced technology provides peace of mind even during stressful periods.

The 52-year-old Abu Dhabi resident was first diagnosed with multiple heart conditions ten years ago, when she fainted at a party in the United States. After two open heart surgeries, first to repair and then to replace the mitral valve, she was fitted with a pacemaker for atrial fibrillation – an irregular heartbeat – with occasional symptomatic slow heart rate. The condition meant she could never pursue her passion for salsa dancing as a profession and made her worry she would never dance again.

“Dancing has always been part of my life and my childhood dream was to be in the performing arts. It was frustrating not to be able to follow my passion because of my heart issues,” she said.

Until last year, Diana was fearful of the impact of any strenuous activity on her arrhythmia. But now that she is one of the 700 patients at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi whose heart is being remotely monitored by the hospital’s Heart and Vascular Institute, those concerns have lessened.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi established its remote heart monitoring program in August 2015. Patients are implanted with a small device under their skin and benefit from round the clock monitoring by their care team. The device transmits abnormal findings, enabling the medical team to diagnose and monitor the patient’s response to therapy remotely. Last year, the hospital added 250 additional patients to the program.

During the peak of the pandemic, Diana had an ‘episode’ of abnormal heart rhythms and she immediately received a call from the medical team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

“It was a bit surprising at first because they knew exactly how I was feeling and asked me a series of questions before deciding that I needed to alter my medication dose and reduce my activity levels,” she said.

Dr. Khalid Bakr, an Associate Staff Physician in the Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi said this has been a very beneficial tool for their patients during the pandemic. “Vulnerable patients can be assisted in the comfort of their home through the remote monitoring program. We’ve been able to monitor and assist a lot of our patients who may not have needed hospitalization but just medical advice remotely during the movement restrictions last year.”

Dr. Bakr said that such technology allows doctors to detect heart problems early on by analyzing data in real time, looking at long-term and short-term trends. In extreme cases, the team can also alert emergency services and potentially save a patient’s life.

Diana concluded that being on the program allows her to be more carefree. “I feel so safe and confident that my doctors at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi are closely monitoring my heartbeat and if something goes wrong, they will catch it right away.”

About Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi:

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala’s network of world-class healthcare providers, 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 2021, Mubadala Health operates, manages, and develops a portfolio of healthcare assets including: Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre (ADTC), Amana Healthcare, Capital Health Screening Centre (CHSC), Healthpoint, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), and National Reference Laboratory (NRL). In addition, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is an integral part of Mubadala Health. 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.