Dubai to have the first live liver transplant center

UAE is all set to have its first liver transplant center in Dubai by 2018 offering live liver transplants not only for the country but the entire Gulf Cooperation Council states and Middle East region.

Health representatives of the King’s College Hospital, which is opening a 100-bed super specialty hospital in Dubai, revealed this on Tuesday during a ceremonial ground-breaking ceremony to mark the commencement of construction.

The other specialties offered at the hospital will be obstetrics and gynecology, foetal medicine, diabetes and endocrinology.

Dr Nigel Heaton, consultant liver transplant surgeon from King’s Cross Hospital, UK, who will be heading the liver transplant programme spoke exclusively to Reuters on the need for such a center. He said a high incidence of liver disease triggered a high traffic from the UAE and GCC to UK for liver transplants and opening a center here with stop the financial drain.

“Viral hepatitis and metabolic syndrome are the two major reasons that damage the liver, leading to cirrhosis eventually in adults. In the UAE, with a high incidence of insulin resistance and diabetes, there is a significant number of people requiring such intervention.”

“What we offer at King’s Cross Hospital is evidence-based, protocolised and audited medicine where clinical outcomes can be measured. We had in UK a high traffic from the UAE and Middle East for liver transplants and there was a huge cost for patients and their families to move there for assessment and transplant and spend four-six months and be repatriated later,” he added.

“This center will look at reducing all those costs as it will provide the same standards of competency. We work under the UK transplant organisation which is our regulatory authority and have high quality indicators and transparency. We have been the world’s largest liver transplant center for the last two decades conducting 200-240 live liver transplants a year.”

He also pointed out that in children there were cases of rare liver disorders due to genetic anomalies arising out of consanguinity. In the UK itself, for a population of 60 million, 90 children per year undergo liver transplants. The number is nearly trebled here.

Neil Buckley, CEO of the Kings College Hospital Dubai, said “A very important part of our endocrinology and diabetes services will be limb salvaging.”

The UAE has a high rate of limb amputation among diabetics.

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