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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Severe version of heart condition meant only a transplant could save Emirati teens' lives

Cardiomyopathy can be inherited from parents and developed during life

Hamad and Mohammed Yahyaee and each of their brothers and sisters carry the gene that leads to congestive heart failure dilated cardiomyopathy.

Cardiomyopathy can be acquired or inherited from family members. According to the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 'Acquired' means you aren't born with the disease, but you develop it due to another disease, condition, or factor. 'Inherited' means your parents passed the gene for the disease on to you. Often, the cause isn't known.

As the condition worsens, the heart becomes weaker and is less able to pump blood through the body. This can lead to heart failure and then can cause fluid to build up in the lungs, ankles, feet, legs, or abdomen, causing severe pain.

Hamad and Mohammed 's conditions meant that only a heart transplant, one of the most complex medical surgeries, could save their lives.

Dr Sandeep Attawar, the programme director, for cardiac surgery at Gleneagles Hospital, said: "They underwent this cadaver heart transplants at our hospital earlier this year. It is actually very rare to find donors that matched their age, body weight, blood type and other similar characteristics in a short span.

"It took four and half hours to complete Hamad’s transplant whereas Mohammad’s transplant was done in less than four hours. A hospital gets approximately six hours to conduct the transplant from the time that the heart has been removed from the donor”.

India’s proximity to the Gulf and the lower cost of medical care there has led to a growing number of transplant patients flying there for surgery, even though Indian citizens get priority for donor organs.

“We are receiving a growing number of patients from the UAE and Oman, which has naturally brought us in contact with hospitals, physicians and health systems in these countries,” said Renu Malik Vij, associate vice president of international business at Gleneagles Global Hospitals.

Heart transplants at the hospital cost between US$60,000 – or Dh220,338 – and $75,000.

Hamad and Mohammed’s surgery was paid for by the UAE government.

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