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Thursday, January 27, 2022

HMC doctors hail ‘milestone’ success of Qatar’s first lung transplant


Qatar’s HMC achieved another milestone after succeeding with its first lung transplant operation.

Doctors involved in Qatar’s organ transplant programme successfully conducted a lung transplant operation on a 39-year-old Qatari woman at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

The surgery took a total of eight hours, senior health experts said. The patient received the lung from a deceased donor in June and is currently receiving all necessary medical care even eight weeks after being discharged.

The Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani visited last week HMC’s Surgical Specialty Center to check on the patient.

The official praised the medical team that successfully carried out the first operation of its kind in the state and wished the mother of two a full recovery.

The surgery was conducted by a multi-specialty surgical team, led by internationally renowned lung transplant expert, Dr. Takahiro Oto who joined HMC in 2020.

The lung transplant programme was launched by HMC in November 2019 with more than 200 lung transplants for children and adults under his belt.

“In November 2019 we set up a Heart and Lung Transplant Taskforce team who were charged with not only creating the environment in which the programme would be a success, but also marshalling the planning, resources and technology needed to make this happen,” HMC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Abdullah Al Ansari said in a statement to Doha News.

“Now, we have performed our first lung transplant at Hamad General Hospital – a momentous achievement for HMC and for Qatar,” he said. 

A lung transplant is a surgical procedure in which a patient’s diseased or failing lung is replaced with a donor’s healthy lung. 

Despite challenges that emerged with the pandemic, HMC has been determined to continue its work to help people in urgent need of surgery.

“Our transplant programmes have extremely high success rates and we are continuing to expand and improve, offering new procedures,” said Director of the Qatar Organ Donation Center at HMC and Chair of the Heart and Lung Transplant Taskforce, Dr. Riyadh Fadhil.

“The Doha International Academy for Organ Donation utilises the expertise of distinguished international faculty to education and research in organ donation in Qatar and internationally. We are sharing the experience we have in this field with other countries and supporting them in their path towards creating their own organ donation programmes and self-sufficiency in organ transplantation through an international Qatar-led initiative called the ROOTS program,” Dr Fadhil said in a statement to Doha News.

The Minister of Public Health Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari said the operation marked a significant milestone for the Gulf state and ensures that residents and citizens have access to high-quality medical care.

“Being able to perform one of the most complicated and challenging surgical procedures like a lung transplant here in Qatar demonstrates the high standards of expertise and state-of-the-art technology our patients receive,” she said in a statement to QNA. 

“Qatar is a pioneer in the field of organ donation and transplantation both regionally and internationally and many countries seek to emulate our programs,” the minister added. 

Qatar is also supporting other countries in the development of their own programmes, the official said.

Read also: Qatar’s Hamad Hospital to begin heart transplant surgeries

The remarks were echoed by Dr. Yousef Al Maslamani, the Medical Director of Hamad General Hospital and Director of Qatar Center for Organ Transplantation.

“The transplant team brings together international and local expertise. At HMC we also have the skills, including international experts, technology, facilities and access to the expertise to perform these surgeries,” he said in a statement to Doha News.

Currently, 20 people with different respiratory problems are being assessed at HMC to decide if a lung transplant is needed, Dr. Fadhil stated, noting that three cases of lung transplants could be performed in the next few months. 

Qatar’s organ transplant programme also conducts kidney and liver transplant surgeries making HMC one of the most comprehensive transplant centres in the region.

Dr. Oto said lung transplants are one of the most complex procedures.

“A lung transplant is complex and needs two surgical procedures – one is donor surgery to retrieve the lung from a brain-dead donor and the other is recipient surgery to replace a diseased lung with a healthy lung,” he explained in a statement to Doha News. 

“I am so impressed with the standard of service, expertise of staff and state of the art technology available in HMC,” he added. 

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