Dubai’s first liver transplantation performed at King’s College Hospital

by Staff Reporter
Dubai King's College Hospital

In a groundbreaking medical achievement, King’s College Hospital London marked a historic milestone by performing the first successful liver transplantation in Dubai on a 38-year-old woman grappling with liver failure.

As the first facility to provide liver transplantation services in Dubai, the hospital has raised the standard for advanced medical care in the region.

This medical achievement not only signifies a triumph over a rare and severe liver condition but also establishes Dubai’s capability to offer critical medical interventions previously unavailable in the local healthcare landscape.

King’s College Hospital London

Currently, King’s College Hospital London is the sole licensed facility for liver transplantation by the Dubai Healthcare Authority (DHA).

With a team boasting extensive experience having performed over 1500 liver transplantations, the hospital has positioned itself at the forefront of liver care in the UAE and beyond.

The patient appeared jaundiced, presenting with yellowish discolouration of the eyes, and swelling of the feet and belly, indicating a failing liver. The patient suffered from a rare condition known as autoimmune hepatitis, which causes the body’s immune system to attack the liver and damage it.

Liver cirrhosis

Unfortunately, the patient had already developed liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), which led to eventual liver failure. Recognising the severity of the condition and the inadequacy of conventional treatments, the medical team at the Hospital, led by Dr. Kaiser Raja Consultant Hepatologist, Dr. Parthiban Srinivasan, Senior Consultant Transplant Surgeon and Dr. Rakesh Rai, Consultant Hepatobiliary and Transplant Surgeon, deemed a liver transplant as the most viable and effective solution for the patient’s critical health situation.

Dr. Parthiban is the Director and Dr. Rakesh Deputy Director of Liver Transplant Services at King’s College Hospital, which was established under the aegis of H.E. Ahmed Al Tayer, Chairman of the hospital board.

Following a complex, four-hour-long surgery that involved the complete removal of the diseased liver and the implantation of a healthy liver, the patient was closely monitored in the liver intensive care unit by liver intensivists and hepatologists led by Dr. Kaiser Raja, Director of Hepatology at the hospital.

Commenting on the patient’s disease and the decision to perform liver transplantation, Dr. Kaiser said, “Liver cirrhosis is silent and does not cause any symptoms until your liver is 80 per cent damaged. Patients who are diabetic, obese or alcoholic are the most at risk. It is also a major risk factor for liver cancer. Thus, early recognition and prevention of progression of liver disease can avoid liver failure.”

Heartfelt expression of gratitude

In a heartfelt expression of gratitude, the patient, said, “My deepest thanks to the dedicated team of doctors who have not only given me a second chance at life but have also paved the way for hope in the face of adversity. Their commitment and expertise have made a profound difference in my journey to recovery, and I am grateful for their exceptional care and support.”

The management at King’s College Hospital London would like to take this opportunity to extend their gratitude to the leadership at the Ministry of Health and DHA as their support has been pivotal in getting this program come to fruition.

The UAE has the fastest-growing rate of post-mortem organ donation in the world. However, there is a growing demand for organ donation and transplantation services to address the prevalence of liver diseases. To address this gap, the Liver Transplantation Services at King’s College Hospital London was established, in line with the objectives of the Hayat Organ Donation program, under the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention.

Dr. Parthiban said, “This successful liver transplantation is a great example of the life-changing impact of organ donation. We can save lives through the kindness and generosity of our patients and families, who prevent another family from facing the loss of a loved one.”

Commenting on the new transplant centre, Dr. Kaiser Raja said, “Chairman H.E. Ahmed Al Tayer’s visionary guidance and steadfast commitment have played a pivotal role in the creation of our Liver Transplant Centre. With a direct connection to King’s College London, this endeavour holds the potential to enhance patient care and drive advancements in medicine. H.E. Ahmed Al Tayer’s unwavering dedication is poised to leave a lasting imprint on the healthcare landscape in Dubai.”

As the patient continues her journey of recovery, this case serves as a beacon of hope for individuals grappling with severe liver conditions in the UAE. According to Dr. Parthiban, the successful liver transplantation marks a significant stride in the provision of advanced medical care in the region.

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