First global robotic surgery performed in Sharjah

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Sharjah: Doctors at a Sharjah hospital conducted a complex cardiac surgery on a patient whose heart and other organs were on the right side of the body. The surgery was broadcast live via webcast.

Al Qasimi Hospital broadcast an interactive live surgery to train and educate new physicians from around the world. The complex surgery was aired live via webcast to the 6th annual India Live Cardiology Conference in New Delhi.

Around 4,000 surgeons from around the world viewed the surgery being conducted at Al Qasimi Hospital.

Additionally, surgeons in India viewed the procedures and provided their comments on each step.

While Dr Arif Al Nooryani, executive director and consultant cardiologist at the hospital, carried out a critical procedure at Al Qasimi Hospital in Sharjah, his audience’s comments rang out over a speaker in the cardiac catheterisation lab’s operation room.

Dr Al Nooryani told Gulf News that the “operation has been a great success. We need to follow up with the patient to make sure that everything is still OK. The heart of the Jordanian patient, 47, was on the right side of his body and he was suffering from blockage in his three arteries. One of them was 99 per cent blocked, the second was 75 per cent blocked while the third artery was opened in an emergency operation four days before of the surgery. A pump was implanted by robotic surgery. The result was excellent despite the challenges we faced.

“The heart of the patient as well as his other organs were on the right side and this was a challenge for us.”

The operation lasted 40 minutes and is considered the first ever robotic surgery across the world for a heart located on the right side. Dr Al Nooryani said that the surgery cost is usually Dh20,000 but it was conducted free for the patient.

“This operation is a breakthrough for the region; we have taken the opportunity to show the conference that we [in the Middle East] are not inferior to others. We have showed that in the Arab world there are doctors performing the same operations as in Europe and other countries and maybe even doing them better. This has put Sharjah, the UAE and the whole Middle East in an exclusive club.”

Dr Al Nooryani said the technology delivers high-resolution video and real-time two-way experiences through global network and it facilities surgical education through live interactive surgery video broadcasting and to learn and communicate in real-time directly with the surgeon and those in the operating room.

“The aim of the surgery is to allow us to provide invaluable training to new physicians and other health-care professionals from around the globe,” Dr Al Nooryani said.

“We are very pleased to have this technology available at Al Qasimi Hospital to aid us in training and to take part in global conferences,” he said.

Dr Al Nooryani spent the next few hours fielding congratulatory calls from India.

“The conference organisers came to us because they trust our work and have seen the results,” he said, adding that very few cardiologists worldwide favour stenting for this kind of problem. “Medicine is constantly evolving. We have new equipment, new materials, new procedures that we as cardiologists need to learn. Through this live transmission, I was given the opportunity to teach these cardiologists how to do this by showing them that it can easily be done and giving them encouragement.”

Dr Al Nooryani said the heart being located on the right side is considered a congenital defect and occurs in one in every 12,000 people.

Al Qasimi Hospital has conducted 15,000 heart surgeries over the past 12 years including three cases where the heart was located on the right side.


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