Rare windpipe surgery saves young patient’s life

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Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Performs Surgery After Serious Road Accident Leaves 17-Year-Old Fighting for Breath

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. September 5, 2018:
Surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi have saved a young man’s life after a serious road traffic accident left him with a ruptured trachea, or windpipe, and fighting for breath.


The 17-year-old had been taken to an Abu Dhabi hospital by emergency services and was found to be suffering from a rare condition causing an accumulation of air around his trachea.

Due to the seriousness of his injuries, the referring hospital and the patients’ parents decided that the best chance of saving his life was to transfer him to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi where he would receive immediate specialist care from a multidisciplinary team of surgeons and physicians.

Upon admission to the hospital, the patient was rushed to the operating room where his care team employed a range of advanced diagnostic techniques to discover a rupture in the windpipe and two more in his esophagus – all caused by the impact of the road accident.

“The condition is rare in someone so young. Performing the surgery in time is vital to helping the patient make a full recovery,” says Dr. Redha Souilamas, Department Chair for Thoracic Surgery, in the Heart and Vascular Institute who led the life-saving surgery.

Upon diagnosis, the surgical team immediately began the delicate and complex surgery to repair the holes in his windpipe and esophagus. Air had begun accumulating around the patient’s windpipe, making it difficult for him to breathe. The ruptures also posed a real risk of serious infection.

“In this situation time was of the essence. Without surgery, the holes would have grown bigger, infection would have set in, and the patient could have died. Luckily, I have the pleasure of working with a great multidisciplinary team who work extremely well under pressure. We were able to diagnose the patient and treat him in a timely manner, saving his life,” continues Dr. Souilamas.

Following the five-hour surgery, the patient recovered at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi before being discharged. He continues to recover well following his ordeal.

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