Saudi’s Abdul Latif Jameel Health launches “pioneering” heart surgery procedure in the GCC

Its partnership with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health marks the debut of the AVNeo in the region, making Saudi Arabia the first country from the Council to offer the advanced solution.
By Rachel McArthur
01:54 am
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Credit: Abdul Latif Jameel Health

A recently established health solutions provider has partnered with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health to bring a “pioneering” heart surgery procedure to the Kingdom.

Abdul Latif Jameel Health – which was formed in 2020 with the mission to tackle “disparity in access to modern medical care” – has launched the AVNeo (Aortic Valve Neo-cuspitization), used in surgical reconstruction of the aortic heart valve. It is described as a cheaper yet safe alternative that creates movement close to that of a natural valve compared to other aortic valve replacement procedures.

The partnership marks the debut of the AVNeo in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), making Saudi Arabia the first country from the region to offer this advanced solution.

“We seek to facilitate and explore the possibility of applying such innovative medical technological solutions in the Kingdom’s hospitals in order to provide high-quality integrated services in the field of health care,” said Najlaa Kateb, director general of the Innovation Center at the Ministry of Health. “The Ministry continues its efforts through the ‘Future Foresight’ programme at the Innovation Center, which aims to leverage the latest medical technological solutions and make them available to patients.”

THE LARGER CONTEXT

First launched in Japan in 2007, the AVNeo has since been implemented in over 20 countries, including the United States, Germany, Russia, Italy, and the United Kingdom. It utilises a patient’s pericardium tissue, which reduces costs associated with surgery as well as decreasing the likelihood of an allergic reaction. 

Those who undergo the procedure are not likely required to continue taking medication six months post-surgery.

According to data provided by Abdul Latif Jameel Health, “the survival rate after a 10-year period was 85.9% for those who received AVNeo compared to less than 80% for alternative procedures.”

The technique is reportedly suitable for all age groups, including children.

WHY IT MATTERS

According to the country’s Ministry of Health, cardiovascular diseases account for 37% of all deaths in Saudi Arabia, while 15% of the Kingdom’s populations suffer from hypertension – a significant risk factor.

Both the Ministry and Abdul Latif Jameel Health are now in the process of obtaining formal approval of the new medical technique the Saudi Food & Drug Authority, which includes establishing a programme to train medics to perform AVNeo operations under the supervision of Adel Tash, Adult Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at the Ministry of Health. It is hoped that these trained surgeons will be able to then perform the surgery both inside and outside of the country.

ON THE RECORD

“We are proud of this collaboration with the Ministry of Health, a pioneer in the health sector, implementing innovative projects to improve patient services,” said Faisal Alsamannoudi, vice chairman and CEO of Abdul Latif Jameel Enterprises. “Over the past 75 years, Abdul Latif Jameel has transformed from a local company into a globally diversified business, with the creation of Abdul Latif Jameel Health marking an important milestone in this journey. Collaborating on projects like AVNeo will undoubtedly pave the way for further ground-breaking innovation in our work moving forward.

“Also, this collaboration serves as an incentive for Abdul Latif Jameel Health to promote continuous research and development for the benefit of this Nation and its people, as part of its contribution to the National Transformation Program and the ‘Quality of Life’ programme, in line with the Saudi vision 2030.”

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