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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Abu Dhabi hospital performs heart surgery without opening chest cavity

Now surgeons can perform a “mitral valve annulus repair” by implanting a device into a patient’s heart while it is still beating

Dr Rakesh Suri, CEO of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Dr Rakesh Suri, CEO of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Physicians at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi successfully used a minimally invasive technique for high-risk heart patients, saving the lives of three Emiratis who were deemed too sick and old for surgery.

In an important step for the UAE’s health system, CCAD adopted the latest technology for treating a life-threatening heart condition in which the mitral valve, which is located between your left heart chambers, does not work properly.

The technology has only been used in a few medical institutions in Europe and means that patients no longer need to have open heart surgery.

Now surgeons can perform a “mitral valve annulus repair” by implanting a device into a patient’s heart while it is still beating. The device is inserted via a vein in the patient’s groin and guided through the body and into the heart of the patient using echo and fluoroscopic imaging.

Scarring is minimal and recovery time short. The first three procedures were performed last month.

Dr Rakesh Suri, chief executive at Cleveland Clinic, said: “This is cutting-edge technology for high-risk patients who have failed all other therapies and have little chance of survival. This procedure is currently only available in Abu Dhabi and a few centres in Europe.

“We were only able to introduce this innovative approach because of the expertise of our physicians, nurses and technicians, along with the incredible support of our UAE leaders.”

The three Emirati female patients, aged 65, 72 and 88, had exhausted all other therapeutic options.

Just three days after undergoing the procedure, patient Noor Al Ameri, 88, said she could feel the difference.

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“I was unable to walk and had been having heart valve issues for a long time,” Ms Al Ameri said. “Since the operation, there has been a noticeable difference in my breathing and health.

Shaika Ali Al Maskari, another patient who underwent the procedure, said she was very happy with the outcome. “It was difficult to walk because I couldn’t breathe properly. Hopefully it will help me and give me back my independence.

“I would also like to thank our government and leaders for making this possible.”

Dr Thomas Bartel, a member of the multidisciplinary team that performed the procedure, said: “This procedure is a real benefit for the patients, who can now breathe without difficulty and enjoy their daily lives.”

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