Dr Michael Slack from Johns Hopkins Medicine performs advanced ASD closure procedures at Tawam Hospital for the first time in the UAE
Tawam Hospital, the UAE and Gulf region’s premier healthcare provider, organised an interventional cardiology workshop, in the period from 12-16 November, 2006. Dr Michael Slack, an internationally renowned consultant pediatric cardiologist from Johns Hopkins University Medical Centre in the United States, performed advanced non-surgical procedures for closing atrial septal defects (ASD) under intracardiac echocardiography, in children 3-19 years old, for the first time in the UAE.
Dr Slack performed the procedures along with the Tawam team led by Dr Mohamed Hamdan, consultant paediatric cardiologist and Head of the Al Ain-based hospital’s paediatric cardiology division. The procedures were performed on 14 UAE National patients at Tawam’s newly-opened Siemens Cardiac Catheterization and Angiography Suite. This state-of-the-art treatment facility offers advanced cardiac and vascular procedures for patients with different age groups.
Speaking at a press conference today (Wednesday, November 15, 2006), Mr Michael Heindel, CEO, Tawam Hospital said: “Tawam Hospital’s affiliation to Johns Hopkins Medicine has enabled the hospital to perform the increasingly preferred non-surgical percutaneous closure technique in the country. This has made Tawam one of the few centres worldwide to offer such advanced services, fulfilling the commitment of the General Authority for Health Services of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and Tawam Hospital to provide the best in international healthcare to our patients.”
He added:: “Tawam Hospital has yet again taken the lead to bring the latest in treatment approaches for cardiac patients in the UAE and the Gulf region. Performing this advanced procedure for ASD patients marks a significant evolution in local access to globally-adopted medical services, adds considerably to Tawam Hospital’s ability to offer high quality care, and results in direct cost-savings.
Dr Slack, who is credited with building the Interventional Cardiac Catheterization program at the Children’s National Heart Institute at Children’s National Medical Centre in the US, has performed hundreds of such procedures for patients suffering from these heart defects, and has helped in developing this technique. He has also founded the Adult Congenital Interventional Cardiac Catheterization Program at the Washington Hospital Center, one of the busiest adult cardiology centres in the US. Dr Slack’s visit and workshop at Tawam were sponsored under Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Visiting Physician Program.
The procedure took place at Tawam’s cardiac catheterization suite which offers a one-of its kind modern technology in the region in the form of the Siemens Senesis System, and Acunav Intracardiac Echocardiopgraphy. This allows physicians to perform cardiac catheterizations and interventions, as well as a broad range of special radiological sprocedures, for the growing number of patients with diseases of the heart and blood vessels in the area.
“The percutaneous closure technique is an advanced procedure, not only in the UAE and the Gulf, but also in the world”, pointed out Dr Hamdan. “Children with ASD’s were treated without risky surgery or general anaesthesia since the new technique enables closure of cardiac holes or defects through a groin vessel under local anaesthesia guided by intracardiac echocardiography. Intracardiac ultrasound is a new technique that has been only applied in few countries of the world and was performed for the first time in the UAE and the region,” he added.
The percutaneous closure technique replaces the traditional surgical approach in treating ASDs in children. The procedure can be performed without the need of general anaesthesia. It uses the new intracardiac ultrasound technique, which makes it possible to visualize the defect, make precise measurements and control the placement of the device, by looking at the defects from within the heart. The minimal-risk procedure also brings patients the benefits of comfort and speedy recuperation, prevents strokes, right heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and recurrent hospitalizations.
Tawam Hospital gained affiliation to Johns Hopkins Medicine in April 2006. Recently, it also secured accreditation from the Joint Commission of International Accreditation in the US, becoming the first hospital in Abu Dhabi, and the second in the UAE to receive this distinction. Tawam offers specialist treatment in Oncology, Family Medicine, Fertility Services and Intensive Care Services and has emerged as a major referral centre for critical cases from the UAE and the region.
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