Liver Transplant Surgery Will Soon be Feasible in UAE
At least 40 liver transplant surgeries could become possible per year at a soon to open 100-bed hospital, one of the first UAE-based hospitals to offer the procedure.
Representatives gathered on Tuesday to break ground on the site of King’s College Hospital London, Dubai. The plot is located at the heart of the community Dubai Hills and is set to be completed in Q4 of 2018.
At least six per cent of all outgoing GCC patients in 2013 travelled abroad to seek transplant care.
The transplants to be done here will be from living-related transplants, meaning that the corresponding liver donor is a relative of the patient. “Though we are just starting off, based on estimates and medical issues such as liver disease and diabetes, we think that we will be carrying out around 40 liver transplants in a year among local patients and those who will travel here,” said Simon Fraser, Medical Director, King’s College Hospital London.
Locally offered liver transplants also mean that patients in the UAE will have to spend less, and given a renewed life opportunity right here in their home country. Patients will also have the convenient, less disruptive and more affordable option of recovering and attending post-procedure follow-ups on home soil.
“Patients here have to spend a lot of money and between 3-6 months away from home while preparing for the surgery and in after-care. This can all be taken care of in the UAE now,” Fraser said. In the near future, this specialised surgery will also help address the unmet needs of the wider GCC, and help merge an important regional healthcare gap, stemming from the limited availability of transplant care in the region.
The living-related transplant programme in Dubai will be led by Professor Nigel Heaton, who spearheads King’s London’s leading hepatology unit. The unit comprises the largest liver transplant programme in Europe for the last 30 years, and delivers over 200 liver transplants per year.
Professor Nigel Heaton explained: “Thirty-seven years ago, a very generous and visionary man decided to give thousands of patients another chance at life. This man was the former President of the UAE, late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose donation in 1979 helped found the King’s liver research centre in London.”
“Today, the centre is amongst the top three liver specialist centres in the world and number one in Europe, and has been responsible for saving the lives of countless patients in need of liver transplants over the last three decades. As we commemorate him today, and on behalf of the King’s team in London and in the UAE, we truly look forward to building on the legacy he started by giving back to this very community and offering local patients living-related liver transplants in the near future.”
King’s also announced the appointment of Neil Buckley as the CEO of King’s Dubai. Buckley said: “I look forward to the challenge of being a part of these decisive phases that are really helping to write the next chapter of King’s 175-year legacy and shape healthcare here in the UAE. We are proud that we will be providing such complex, much needed and specialised surgical procedures locally.”
A Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Report anticipates that in 2015 to 2025, with the expected rise in the ageing population and growth of chronic diseases, Dubai will witness an increased demand for specialised care, particularly in obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, endocrinology, cardiology, respiratory medicine and neurosciences.
“King’s Dubai will also export King’s London’s pioneering research and established expertise in distinguished practices, such as metabolic surgery, a procedure that is currently the closest to a Diabetes cure, and fetal medicine for yet to be born babies with complications, to name a few,” said Fraser.