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Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery Centre

UAE Awards

Hamdan Award for an Outstanding Clinical Department in the Public Sector in UAE


The combined cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery department provides comprehensive care for patients suffering from various cardiac diseases, and is strongly involved in teaching and education in the respective fields. The department was the first centre in Dubai to perform coronary angiography and other angiographic procedures (1998), open heart surgery (1992) and the first cardiac pacemaker insertion (>30 years ago) in the UAE. The Department offers cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) and implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator, and these were applied for the first time in Dubai in 2004. Moreover, percutaneous interventions for adult congenital heart disease and chest trauma service are also provided. It is among one of the few centers in the UAE to use intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation and temporary pacemaker insertions. Additionally, a cardiac rehabilitation program is maintained at the Department as well as a fully dedicated anticoagulation clinic.

The extraordinary level of distinction that characterizes the abovementioned department stems from a high number of pioneering endeavors. Firstly, the invasive cardiac lab at Dubai Hospital was the first centre in the UAE to perform correction of atrial septal defects.

The Department housed the first centre in the Middle East to have live transmission from its Cathlab to international conferences that involve USA and Europe, and the first centre in the UAE and the second in the Gulf region to apply aortic valve implantation (TAVI). Importantly, the first centre in the UAE to insert stents with the ABSORB technique in 2012 is also part of the Department. By December 2013 fifty five patients had undergone the TAVI procedure. Finally, the heart failure group provides a high standard of care to patients in various ways.

Personnel and infrastructure

The department is led by the directors of its two divisions; Cardiology (Dr. Arif Abdullatif Abdulrahman Al Mulla) and Cardiothoracic Surgery (Dr. Obaid Al Jassim).

The department has 32 physicians and surgeons, 17 paramedical staff, seven non-invasive cardiac laboratory technicians, and two medical secretaries. The working team makes use of four operating theatres and six invasive cardiac labs. The high load of patients undergoing treatment coupled with high standards of care helped put the Department at the top in the field, with active participation in a number of international studies in collaboration with well-known centers in European cities such as Toulouse, France.

History and Services

Dubai Hospital was established in March 1983. Prof. J M Muscat Baron was the first cardiologist in Dubai Hospital, and he established the Cardiology Department. Then, Prof. Najib Al-Khaja established the Cardiovascular Surgical Department after his return from Sweden, where he had his post graduate training in Cardiac Surgery.

The Department has been involved in fourteen clinical trials and studies, and has contributed to 20 registries. It participated in campaigning to increase public awareness regarding heart diseases. The bio-absorbable stent (scaffold) was introduced in Dubai Hospital in 2012 and a year later a total of five workshops to train interventionalists took place with participants from Austria, the Netherlands and Italy. Moreover, the ECHMO technique (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) was introduced to support patients whose hearts and lungs are failing; six patients have now been treated.

In 2007, Dubai Health Authority in collaboration with Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Charity and Humanitarian Institution launched an institute for the treatment of congenital heart disease in children. The pediatric surgery team collaborated with teams from Sweden, Italy, USA and KSA to treat 390 children in Dubai from various Arab countries most of whom were less than three months old under the so-called “Nabadat initiative”. International accreditation was awarded to the Dubai Hospital Echocardiography lab in 2013, and was the second centre outside Europe to be given this recognition.

The scope of Services in the Department is impressively varied; from the non-invasive, to the invasive. These include cardiac electrophysiology and pacemaker services, emergency handling of cardiogenic shock using intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation, coronary angioplasty, temporary packing and extra corporeal membrane oxygenation, cardiopulmonary exercise testing and rehabilitation services.

The department encompasses numerous clinics such as heart failure clinic, anticoagulation clinic, general cardiology clinic, smoking cessation clinic, pulmonary hypertension clinic and adult congenital heart disease clinic.

Cardiothoracic surgery services include cardiac surgery, cardiac anesthesia and thoracic surgeries.

One of the latest achievements of the Department (2013) is the accreditation of Cardiology Department by the Council of the Arab health Ministers to be a Centre for the Arab Board for the Medical Specialization of Cardiology.

Numerous workshops and conference have been organized in the field of heart disease. Several Awards have been won by members of the Department, and members of staff presented numerous abstracts at various meetings (2012 – 2013).

All the above contributions to the healthcare services, medical education highlight the extraordinary role played by the Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery Department, which is being awarded by the Hamdan Award for Outstanding Clinical Department in the Public Sector in the United Arab Emirates for the term 2013 - 2014.