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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Abu Dhabi hospital performs its first live liver transplant

University student able to continue studies after receiving part of her brother's liver

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has achieved a first. Courtesy Mubadala Investment Company
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has achieved a first. Courtesy Mubadala Investment Company

Surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi performed the hospital’s first liver transplant from a living relative.

UAE national patient, Noura Saif, 23, who was suffering from liver failure received a donation from her elder brother.

Both patients recovered and have been discharged to their home with ongoing aftercare and support.

“A living related liver transplant is a complex procedure because our multidisciplinary teams need to perform two surgeries at the same time, safely removing part of the donor’s liver and transplanting it into the recipient," said Dr Antonio Pinna, a physician at the Digestive Disease Institute who led the surgical team.

Livers are the human body’s largest essential organ, performing key metabolic and immune functions.

In a traditional transplant operation, the entire organ is taken from a deceased donor, while in a living related liver transplant, a portion of the liver is removed from a living relative.

As livers are capable of regeneration, a transplanted section of a healthy liver can ideally regrow into a functional organ for the recipient.

“I’m so grateful to everyone at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and for the support of my family,” said Ms Saif.

“The opportunity to have the transplant operation here made it possible for me to continue my studies before and after the treatment."

Noura is in her first year of university.

Before the transplant, Noura was top on the list for a deceased donor, but because time was critical and tests had shown that her older brother was a match, they opted not to wait and go for a live transplant.

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“One of the promises we made to the community when we launched Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi was that we would open the UAE’s first multi-organ transplant centre," said Dr Rakesh Suri, CEO of the hospital.

"Following on from our first kidney transplant in April 2017, we have now performed multiple living and deceased donor kidney and liver transplants, as well as lung and heart transplants.

“The availability of a living donor programme creates significantly more options for patients throughout the Emirates who need a transplant operation.”

The surgical team was able to draw on the expertise of US-based partner Cleveland Clinic, which completed its first living related donor kidney transplant in April 2017, its first full heart transplant in December 2017, its first deceased donor liver and lung transplants in February 2018, and its first double lung transplant in June 2018.