Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a Mubadala Health partner, played a major role in a groundbreaking triple ‘kidney swap’ transplant case in the UAE where three patients received life-saving organs under Abu Dhabi’s Paired Kidney Donation Program. The program works with leading hospitals such as Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi matching transplant recipients with compatible live donors.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Transplant Center has performed a total of 379 transplants since its inception in 2017, of which the majority have been kidney transplants. This successful collaboration with another local hospital to complete three simultaneous transplants as part of the Paired Kidney Donation Program, further reinforces the UAE’s vision and establishes the country as a preferred healthcare destination in the region for patients seeking a compatible donor and an opportunity to combat kidney failure.
Dr. Bashir Sankari, Institute Chair, Urology, Surgical Subspecialties Institute of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi explains how the process of matching donors and swapping under the Paired Kidney Donation Program works, “When a patient requires a transplant, a possible donor may agree to donate their organ, but sometimes tests reveal that the kidney is not a medical match. For example, a brother may want to donate one of his kidneys to his ailing sister but is found to be incompatible due to factors such as blood group or genetic differences, or due to the presence of antibodies. Separately, a husband may want to donate a kidney to his wife but is not able to due to a similar situation.
“In such situations, a solution could be to test whether these unrelated individuals are a match for each other. By doing so, each pair can receive a compatible kidney and undergo a successful transplantation. We are proud that we were able to partner in this milestone procedure between three groups of unrelated individuals that saved three lives,” continued Dr. Sankari.
A major enabler of this trailblazing medical procedure is the Paired Kidney Donation Program in Abu Dhabi, which operates under the National Program for Donation and Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissue - ‘Hayat’ and is supported by healthcare authorities and organizations such as the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH) and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA). Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is now exploring the expansion of this program to Cleveland Clinic in the U.S. which will unlock more opportunities to facilitate life-saving solutions for kidney disease patients and increase the number of organs available to benefit UAE citizens and residents.
“It is crucial that people understand the importance of organ donation and choose to be a donor irrespective of whether the organ saves the life of their family member, friend or an unrelated individual. Many patients remain on the transplant waiting list for too long, which puts their lives in danger. Programs such as Paired Kidney Donation highlight joint efforts of the partnerships within the healthcare ecosystem of the UAE, which ensures that every patient receives world-class care at the right time,” concludes Dr. Sankari.