American Hospital Dubai performs first surgical procedure in Dubai for resistant hypertension

A new surgical treatment still under trial has been performed for the first time in Dubai at the American Hospital Dubai, giving new hope to sufferers of uncontrolled high blood pressure. The first patient to undergo the procedure at the hospital was a 56-year old male resident of the UAE, a US citizen of Jordanian origin. High blood pressure – or hypertension – is one of the most common health issues facing the global community and the UAE, with around 30% of the country’s population affected.

High blood pressure (BP) is associated with obesity and can lead to other potentially serious health issues, such as heart disease, kidney failure and stroke. For many with high BP, advances in medication and lifestyle adjustments can help control the blood pressure to maintain a normal healthy life. For a significant number of others – around 10% of all hypertension suffers – the problem cannot be controlled even through the use of multiple medications. This condition is known as Resistant Hypertension (RHT) and represents a serious health risk.

Until recently, there has been no treatment for RHT other than by using more medications in higher doses, with all the complications and side effects these may create and the adverse impact on the quality of life of the patient. This may be about to change thanks to a new surgical treatment that is still under trial, but which has just been performed for the first time in Dubai by the team at the American Hospital Dubai led by Dr. Omar Kamel Hallak, Chief Interventional Cardiologist, where special training and equipment allowed them to treat the first patient, with promising results.

One of the possible causes of resistant hypertension is thought to be due to miscommunication between the kidney and the brain through the ‘sympathetic nerve’ of the kidney, which plays a central role in the body’s ability to control blood pressure. Ablation of the nerve improves the blood pressure control. The new procedure – ‘Renal Nerve Ablation’ – was first trialled around three years ago and initial studies on a limited number of patients suggest that it is effective and safe, although there is not yet enough evidence to understand fully the long term effectiveness. This means that the procedure can only be carried out with special arrangements for clinical governance and the consent of the patient. Patient selection is critical and should be undertaken by a multidisciplinary team to establish that the patient cannot control blood pressure through medication or lifestyle changes.

Dubai’s first Renal Nerve Ablation patient was Khalid Omari, a 56-year old senior manager at a construction company in Dubai, who had struggled with high blood pressure medications for around 12 years and had already had open heart surgery to unblock arteries. “High blood pressure is a silent killer and once symptoms are apparent, it is often too late. I had suffered from headaches and knew something was not right. Following my heart surgery and after working with blood pressure medications with the team at the American Hospital Dubai, we had built a high level of trust; so, when we first discussed this new treatment, I researched the background carefully for several months and then agreed to the surgery. Recovery was fast and I certainly feel more energetic and motivated but we await the final outcome over the next three to six months. The worst case is no long term change to my condition but I can feel an immediate improvement and I hope to inspire others with high blood pressure to comply with their treatment and give hope to live a normal life.”

The renal artery ablation procedure is undertaken using a special catheter, which is connected to a generator which delivers low power radiofrequency energy and applies this to each renal artery at 4-6 points to ensure the nerve is severed. Dr Hallak, who has already designed a catheter used in renal artery stenting, has designed a new catheter to improve the performance of the current technology used in Renal Nerve Ablation, and which is currently under evaluation in the US.

“The immediate technical success rate of this new procedure is very high,” says Dr Hallak. “Based on patient studies, we know that it delivers an immediate short term average reduction in blood pressure, and that the blood pressure reduction is maintained at least over a two year period. This procedure appears to be very promising – it is not yet the standard of care but it will have significant applications in the future. The American Hospital Dubai is one of very few select centers in the world capable of performing the procedure. The first procedure at the hospital went very smoothly and produced very good results for the patient.”

AUBMC nurses score high

In a recent Registered Nurse Satisfaction Survey conducted in April 2013, comparing Magnet Designated medical institutions worldwide, the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) scored higher than the mean of all Magnet Designated hospitals with respect to the practice environment.

Magnet Recognition is a program by the American Nurses Credentialing Center that recognizes healthcare organizations for providing excellence in nursing. AUBMC, as the first Magnet designated medical center in the Middle East since 2009, continues to provide excellence in patient care through its entire interdisciplinary team.

Recent research from internationally recognized nurse investigator Dr. Linda H. Aiken shows that Magnet hospitals have better work environments, a more highly educated nursing workforce, superior nurseto- patient staffing ratios, and higher nurse satisfaction than non-Magnet hospitals.

The US-based National Database of Nursing Quality IndicatorsTM (NDNQI) is the only national nursing database to evaluate nursing care at the unit level. Linkages between nurse staffing levels and patient outcomes are also demonstrated through the use of this database. Compared with the NDNQI average scores, AUBMC scored higher on all pillars covering nursing participation in hospital affairs, foundations for quality of care, nurse manager ability, leadership and support of nurses, staffing and resource adequacy, and collegial nurse-physician relations.

“The average scores on all these parameters have been increasing considerably over the past two years.” said Iman Al Kouatly, Director of Nursing. “What truly matters for the satisfaction of the Registered Nurses at AUBMC, is the solid structures established by the Medical Center’s leaders to create an environment that fosters a culture of shared decision making in hospital affairs,” said Al Kouatly.

“The collaboration and continuity in care delivery system among the inter-professional teams plays an essential role in providing excellent and safe quality care for our patients.” “We feel proud being part of AUBMC’s nursing family,” said Nisrin Abou Fakhr, Private Clinic Nurse. “Nursing is a science of caring along to curing, and we do it with the patient in mind. There is nothing more rewarding in what we do than that smile and appreciation we get from every person we meet from patients, colleagues and family.”

Kuwait MoH chooses Integraph to manage ambulance dispatch

The Ministry of Health Department of Emergency Medical Services in Kuwait selected Intergraph’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system to manage dispatch for all their emergency and non-emergency operations.

“Intergraph’s solution will enable the Department of Emergency Medical Services to provide real-time, more efficient response to the medical emergencies of our citizens in Kuwait, which ultimately is the main goal for the department,” said Husain Al-Husaini, head of communications at the Department of Emergency Medical Services.

Serving more than 3.5 million citizens and residents of the country and receiving more than 300 emergency and 400 nonemergency calls per day, the Department of Emergency Medical Services was in need of a multi-agency, enterprise-wide solution to support the entire country. Intergraph’s CAD system will replace the existing older system, allowing the country to take advantage of a modern technology platform that meets the need of the large number of calls for service received each day.

The Department of Emergency Medical Services will also implement Intergraph’s Mobile for Public Safety, I/Calltaker, I/ NetViewer and I/NetDispatcher software for web-based communications between dispatchers and ambulance vehicles in the field, allowing the department to send information to mobile units, which ensures that personnel in the field have critical information available at all times.

“Implementation of Intergraph’s CAD solution by IMEL, Intergraph’s exclusive distributor in the Middle East, will allow MOH personal to access real-time information in the field to make smarter decisions that save lives,” said Muhammed Al Aswad, managing director, IMEL.

Could Iraq be the next big market?

Iraq has considerable untapped growth potential and is seen by many as “The next big one”, according to Steve Hamilton-Clark, CEO of TNS MENA one of the world’s largest custom market research organisations. Hamilton-Clark was commenting as his company unveiled the ‘Iraqi As Consumer 2012 (IRAC)’ study – a first-of-a-kind initiative – with IIACSS, a public opinion and marketing research company, which unveils a deeper understanding of what makes the Iraqi consumer tick.

“Considering the economic slowdown in the developed world, more and more clients would like to enter the Iraqi market which has intrigued marketers for years, however until now there has been very little information available,” explained Hamilton-Clark. The study, which spanned 10 cities, looks at Iraq from the inside out to unearth the Iraqi of today – how they live, what they believe in and what they aspire to be.

“For instance we found that over 50% of Iraqi consumers feel that the nation is headed in the right direction and have an optimistic view about the economic and political situation in the country which highlights the potential for marketers,” added Hamilton-Clark. The study found that consumer confidence is much higher in Kurdistan (Erbil and Sulaimaniya) and in the South (Basra) with figures as high as 48% and 54% respectively, while in Baghdad the confidence level rates 32% and in the Northern governorates only 27%.

The study also reveals that overall 41% think Iraq’s current economic situation is good and very good, with 32% saying that now is the time to buy consumer durables. Meanwhile, 42% stated things will continue to improve over the coming months. Key study outcomes include understanding of socio-cultural, economic factors, identifying emerging trends and their impact on consumer behaviour and attitudes, as well as an in-depth understanding of consumer lifestyles.

“This enables brands to find the best way to connect with their relevant consumer, using different media touch points and generating new communication channels. To get the supply chain in line with Iraqi consumer demands, marketers must take time to dig deep and look across various profile groups to ensure desires, wants and needs are accurately met,” Hamilton-Clark concluded.

National Reference Laboratory inks deal with Universal Hospital

National Reference Laboratory has signed an agreement with Universal Hospital in Abu Dhabi to provide a one-stop solution for their standard and advanced clinical testing needs. Through this partnership, National Reference Laboratory will be a referral lab for Universal Hospital, providing access to a menu of more than 4,000 diagnostic tests and other rapid diagnostic services for its patients.

The agreement was signed at Universal Hospital in Abu Dhabi by Dr. Shabeer Nellikode, Managing Director of Universal Hospital, and Abdul Hamid Oubeisi, General Manager of National Reference Laboratory. Dr Shabeer said: “We are pleased to form this partnership with National Reference Laboratory; one of the best reference labs in the region. Through this agreement, we are able to provide our patients with a full range of tests, from standard to highly specialized, and move forward with our vision to provide world class services in preventive care and total health management to the people of Abu Dhabi.”

Abdul Hamid Oubeisi stated: “We are delighted to establish this service agreement with Universal Hospital, where patient care always comes first.” He continued, “As the referral lab for Universal Hospital, we aim to provide a one-stop solution for all of their clinical testing needs, creating an efficient and high-quality service that is closer to home. In doing so, we are able to reduce both turnaround times and logistical costs compared to laboratories abroad.”

Universal Hospital is a 200-bed multi-specialty, tertiary care facility in Abu Dhabi. As part of its plans to enhance preventative healthcare in the Abu Dhabi market, Universal is also working with partners to increase patient screenings and develop a family physician program for regular check-ups to improve overall quality of care and reduce costs for patients.

National Reference Laboratory is a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Healthcare, created in partnership with, and operated by, Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp), one of the world’s largest and most experienced clinical laboratory operators.

Sidra partners with BGI-Health to set up genetic screening initiative

Qatar’s Sidra Medical and Research Center in September this year signed a Memorandum of Understanding with BGI-Health Asia Pacific to bring Genetic Sequencing and Population Studies to the MENA region. The partnership will establish an institute at Sidra, the first joint institute for BGI in the region. Through its partnership with BGI, the largest genome sequencing and comprehensive genomic organization in the world, Sidra will collaborate with and provide support to all biomedical research organizations in Qatar and MENA region needing genomic analysis. The agreement places Sidra in the ranks of other BGI partners, all high performing academic centers, in the US and Europe.

The agreement provides for direct engagement and coordination between BGI Health Asia Pacific and Sidra on genomics, research and development. Collaboration will focus on topics of common interest, including: reproductive health, new born screening, autism, hereditary cancer testing; monogenic disorder testing, and exome sequence-based personalized medical healthcare. Additionally, BGI-Health Asia Pacific will aid in genetic testing relevant to Sidra and the MENA region, namely, premarital, pre-conception, pre-implantation, pre-natal and pre-school testing for a large number of genes relevant to disease.

Sidra’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. William Owen signed the agreement on behalf of Sidra. He said: “It is a major milestone for Sidra to partner with BGI Health, an established, world-class genomics leader. This agreement will facilitate routine, interactive relationships between Sidra and other local scientists in research and development. Obviously, this will bring important benefits to the people of Qatar and the wider region through cutting-edge genomics and R&D.”

BGI-Health Asia-Pacific’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jingxiang Li signed the agreement on behalf of BGI. He said: “We’re delighted to embark on this partnership with Sidra, and to jointly establish a genomic center of excellence with emphasis on the clinical applications of NGS (Next Generation Sequencing). An integration of BGI’s expertise on sequencing and bioinformatics, along with Sidra’s pioneering clinical and translational research, will lead to exciting prospects in the development of genomic translational medicine and personalized health care”. BGIUnder the terms of the agreement, the institute will utilize state-of-the-art molecular genetics equipment, reagents and specialized equipment operators, as well as state-of-the-art technologies for clinical testing.

Welch Allyn partnership to enhance product service in Gulf region

Welch Allyn, a leading medical diagnostic device company that specializes in helping clinicians improve patient outcomes, has entered into a strategic product service partnership with TBS Group, a global clinical engineering service provider headquartered in Trieste, Italy. The Authorized Service Provider (ASP) agreement is designed to provide comprehensive product repair services to Welch Allyn customers in the Gulf region. Welch Allyn also recently signed an ASP agreement with Abdulrehman AlGosaibi G.T.C. to provide an enhanced service experience for customers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These agreements further emphasize Welch Allyn’s commitment to its customer base in the Middle East.

“By partnering with TBS Group, we can offer an enhanced cost-effective service solution to our distributors and their customers that will assist them with routine maintenance of our products,” said Wojtek Bulatowicz, director of Service and Solutions at Welch Allyn. “This ASP agreement will enable us to extend the life of our products, reduce total cost of ownership, and deliver an even better user experience for our customers. It is part of the commitment and effort that Welch Allyn has implemented in the Gulf region and beyond to better serve our existing and future customers.”

By deploying TBS Group’s service capabilities in the Gulf region, backed by its own service and logistics operation, Welch Allyn can better meet its customers’ high standards for service quality. This means shorter turnaround times for repairs and easier access to a qualified support team when required by Welch Allyn customers and distributors, resulting in improved availability of medical devices where and when they are needed most.


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