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Specialist Bats for More Campaigns on Organ Transplantation

1. Please tell me about yourself and your choice of becoming a Hepatologist and liver diseases expert. How long have you been in the field?

I have done my training in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India. We had a very strong hepatology (liver disease) department in the institute, which is quite renowned. A number of original research takes place in the department, which get published in leading medical journals regularly. After getting trained as a Gastroenterologist, I worked in Abu Dhabi for 5 years from 2003 to 2008. I realized that there is a huge burden of liver disease in UAE. There were lots of doctors taking care of patients with liver disease but there were no facilities that could offer comprehensive state of the art care for all aspects of liver disease. I decided to do further training in advanced liver diseases and with a good recommendation from the Hepatology department in Chandigarh, India, I was able to get into the prestigious Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York, the United States for a one year fellowship in advanced liver diseases and transplant hepatology. I completed that in 2009 and since the last 8 years I have been practicing Hepatology. I kept working between UAE and India and established an Integrated Liver Care (ILC) Team in Bangalore, India, which is a professional group of Hepatologists, hepatobiliary surgeons, liver transplant surgeons, interventional radiologists and liver intensive care experts. Our professional group, the ILC has been working since the past three years with the Aster DM Healthcare Group in India and we have our advanced liver centers at Aster Medcity in Kochi and Aster CMI Hospital in Bangalore, India, where we offer the complete range of medical and surgical care related to all forms of liver diseases, liver, pancreas and biliary tract cancers and multi-organ transplantation. We aim to bring the Aster Integrated Liver Care Program to the UAE so that we can offer cutting-edge, comprehensive care to patients suffering from liver diseases.

2. What causes liver diseases?

The first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think of liver disease is excess alcohol consumption. But in fact, many other liver diseases are more common than an alcoholic liver disease. By far the most common cause of liver disease is fatty liver, which happens in individuals who are overweight, have sedentary lifestyles, diabetes and high triglyceride levels in the blood. Most people assume that fatty liver is an innocuous problem but now we understand that a subset of patients have a progressive form of fatty liver that can damage the liver seriously. There are hepatitis viruses such as Viral Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, which cause both acute (short lasting) and chronic (long standing) liver disease. Patients with chronic viral hepatitis usually do not have any symptoms and therefore are unaware of the problem. It is important to screen for viral hepatitis so that it can be detected and effectively treated at an early age. Some individuals have a condition called autoimmune liver disease in which their own body’s immune system starts damaging the liver. Excess accumulation of iron or copper in the body can also affect the liver. Children and young adults can suffer from a wide variety of metabolic and genetic liver diseases that may present in infancy or in adulthood. Various forms of cancers either arising from the liver or spread from other organs can also involve the liver.

3. Are there variations of liver disease? If so, what are these?

In general, liver disease patterns are the same all over the world. But there are variations such as the age of presentation. Patients with chronic viral hepatitis remain undetected for longer periods of time in Asia, Middle East and Africa since people do not get screened regularly. Hence they may present at a more advanced stage of the disease. People from Africa are in particular more prone to develop liver cancer from hepatitis B at a younger age. Hepatitis D virus, which is uncommon in most parts of the world, is common in central Asia and some areas of Middle East. Patients with chronic hepatitis C have a more rapid progression of liver disease in Asia compared to the Western world.

4. If there were variations of liver disease, what are the most common or most prevalent on the global scale, in the Middle East and North Africa, in the UAE?

On a global scale the most prevalent liver disease is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease followed by alcoholic liver disease and chronic viral hepatitis due to hepatitis B and C infections. In the MENA region, including UAE, non-alcoholic fatty liver is still the most common cause of liver disease due to high prevalence of obesity and diabetes with which this disease is linked. Chronic hepatitis B and C is quite common but largely undiagnosed.

5. How different are liver diseases in children compared to those among adults?

Children usually have a different spectrum of liver disease. Newborns and infants may develop liver disease as a result of serious metabolic and genetic defects. They usually present with yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) and poor growth. These conditions can lead to liver failure quite early in the first few years of life. Such kids require liver transplantation. An important cause of liver disease in the first year of life is extrahepatic biliary atresia. In this condition the bile ducts inside the liver do not develop properly during the development of the baby. This leads to progressive jaundice right from the time of birth. This condition needs to be recognized within the first few weeks of life so that a special corrective surgery known as Kasai’s operation can be done. Else the child goes on to develop liver failure and requires a liver transplant. Children in their first decade of life can suffer from autoimmune liver disease as well as a condition called Wilson’s disease, which is a state of excess copper accumulation in liver due to a genetic defect. Once again early recognition of this problem can lead to proper medications to remove excess copper from the body before the liver gets irreversibly damaged. Children also develop liver cancers, which are quite different from liver cancers in adults. These are aggressive tumors but their response to chemotherapy and surgery is quite good. Some kids with a liver cancer need a liver transplantation.

6. How young is your youngest liver disease patient? Has he survived it? How?

We have treated children as young as one month with liver disease. These are usually children with extrahepatic biliary atresia requiring surgery. There are newborn kids who develop liver disease due to a correctable metabolic defect. For example there was a one-month-old girl with

a condition called galactsemia in which the child cannot metabolize the sugar called galactose in the milk. A simple treatment was exclusion of all forms of milk and milk products.

7. How old is your oldest liver disease patient? Has he survived it? How?

There are a large number of old patients above the age of 75-80 years with liver disease. Most of these patients have liver cirrhosis with liver failure. A lot of these patients develop liver cancer as well due to the long standing nature of liver diseases. Most of these patients are challenging because they are often too old and have other coexistent medical problems that preclude liver transplantation or major liver surgery. There was a 79-year-old Emirati gentleman who had liver cirrhosis and liver cancer and underwent a successful liver transplantation in 2006. He is 89 years old now and continues to be on my follow up care. Having said so, in general liver transplant is not offered above the age of 70 years.

8. What is the worst liver condition or disease, which you have encountered in your career? Please tell me about this and about the patient.

The worst liver condition is usually advanced liver cancer presenting with liver failure. In these cases, often no treatment is possible and patient survival is limited to a few months. We recently had an Iraqi gentleman, 65 years old who was detected to have a small 5 cm liver cancer one year ago. He could not get appropriate treatment at that time when it was in a curable stage. The cancer grew over a period of one year and the patient presented to us with liver failure. He had jaundice, accumulation of fluid in his belly, swelling of legs, mental confusion which are all signs of liver failure. The cancer had increased in size to 10 cm, had invaded the blood vessels and spread to the lung. He was brought to our center in Bangalore in a desperate state. He had three sons, all of them willing to donate a portion of their liver for liver transplantation. Unfortunately this was not a correct indication for transplantation. The patient could be offered only supportive care and passed away in three weeks.

9. How can liver diseases lead to cancer?

80% of liver cancers occur in livers, which have already developed cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is an advanced stage of liver disease in which the liver becomes scarred due to long standing ongoing damage due any factor such as chronic hepatitis B or C, alcohol use, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Cirrhosis is the most important risk factor for liver cancer. Certain causes of liver disease such as hepatitis B and C carry a higher risk of developing liver cancer. Ongoing liver damage over several years leads to repeated cycles of liver cell death and regeneration. Occasionally some of these regenerating liver cells become cancerous. Hepatitis B and C viruses specifically cause genetic changes in the liver cells causing them to turn cancerous. The best way to prevent liver cancer is early diagnosis and treatment of a chronic liver disease so that cirrhosis does not develop. Hepatitis B and C can be treated with effective antiviral drugs and the risk of liver cancer can be significantly reduced. Once a patient develops liver cirrhosis, it is important to do periodic ultrasound scans once in 6 months. This allows detection of cancers at an early stage when they are small and may not cause any symptoms. Small cancers are curable.

10. Your advice on how to avoid liver diseases.

Over 90% of liver diseases are preventable. Fatty liver disease can be controlled by following a healthy lifestyle keeping weight under control, regular exercise, eating a low fat and carbohydrate diet and making sure that other metabolic diseases such as diabetes, if present are well controlled. Hepatitis A and E are viruses that are transmitted through contaminated food, water and drinks. Food hygiene and sanitation in restaurants and eateries is important to prevent these infections. Hepatitis A and B are effectively prevented by a vaccine and these are recommended for all children as well as adults who are at risk of developing these infections. Screening for hepatitis B and C is important to detect these infections and all individuals especially in areas where there is high prevalence of infection should get screened at least once in their lifetime.

11. Is liver transplantation included in all health and medical insurance policies around the world, in the Mena, in the UAE? If not, do you recommend that health insurers consider this? Why?

Insurance coverage for liver transplantation is variable and depends from policy to policy. Most policies do not affect self-inflicted liver disease such as alcohol related diseases. There is also variability between policies in the diagnosis and treatment of Hepatitis B &C, which can contribute to people’s reluctance to get tested and treated. It is WHOs goal to eradicate hepatitis B and C by 2030, which in my opinion will need a combined effort from health care providers and payers to effectively treat these diseases with medications. Insurances would of course pay if liver disease is related to other causes such as non-alcoholic fatty liver and patient needs a liver transplant. At this moment, organ transplant in the UAE is limited, and some patients patients have to go abroad for this procedure. If the insurance policy covers treatment only within the UAE, then the transplant procedure would not get covered.

12. Your opinion on liver organ donation.

It is essential that organ donation be promoted at all levels right from government policies down to public education. There is an immense need for liver transplantation in the Middle East and Asia. Even in Europe and the West, where deceased donor organ transplantation occurs widely, there continues to be a shortage for organs. In Asia, deceased donor organ donations rates are very low and more than 90% of liver transplants being performed are living donor organ transplants. In the Middle East, except for few centers in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, deceased donor organ donation occurs rarely. It is important to have concerted efforts from all the countries in MENA region to establish liver transplant programs and promote deceased organ donation in order to reach and cure more patients.

13. How can we be sure that the liver organ transplantation will be safe for both the donor and the beneficiary?

Appropriate selection of donors for living donor liver transplants is very important. Liver donation by living donors is a major surgery and should not be taken lightly. A donor should have compatible blood group, be absolutely healthy, should not be overweight and should not suffer

from any major illnesses. Most liver transplant centers have well established protocols for detailed evaluation of living donors to ascertain that the surgery will be safe for them. Donors undergo a battery of blood tests, CT scan, liver biopsy, cardiac testing and various multi-specialty assessments to ensure their fitness. The donors should have an adequate volume of liver in order to safely donate a part of their liver to the patient. Healthy individuals can donate upto 65 to 70 % of their liver. The remnant liver regenerates in a few months.

Dr. Kaiser Raja 

Chief Hepatologist 

Aster Integrated Liver Care Program

Aster Hospital Mankhool 

The Gulf Today:

Birth defect detected at age 58; British woman undergoes surgery in Dubai and walks within 24 hours

  • A 58 year old female British patient* had struggled with mobility for more than five decades and was experiencing severe pain and restricted movement for the past year.
  • Doctors at Aster Hospital, Mankhool diagnosed a dislocated hip, a birth defect that had gone undetected at all the life-cycle stages when such a condition is likely to be diagnosed.
  • A total hip replacement surgery by a team of Aster experts saw the patient walking within 24 hours of the surgery.

A 58 year old British woman successfully underwent surgery at Aster Hospital Mankhool to correct a birth defect and regained her ability to perform normal daily activities. Throughout her life, the patient struggled with mobility and found it difficult to execute certain movements such as going up the stairs, sitting cross legged or even stretching her legs.

Dr. Manjunatha G.S., Specialist Orthopedic Surgeon at Aster Hospital, diagnosed the patient with Developmental Dysplasia (dislocation) of the Hip, or dysplastic hip, on the right side. Further complicating her case, the friction caused by the abnormal and continuous gritting of the joint, caused the patient’s right hip centre to be 1.6cms above her left hip and also lead to the development of severe secondary osteoarthritis. The congenital condition, which is usually diagnosed at birth and early stages in life, had gone undetected throughout the patient’s life until the team at Aster discovered the cause of the patient’s discomfort.

Commenting on the case, Dr. Manjunatha said: “Dysplastic hip is the most common congenital hip disorder in children and generally leads to secondary osteoarthritis of the hip joint at a very young age. However, it is uncommon for the condition to go undetected for so many years. At age 58, we diagnosed the patient with dysplastic hip after her condition had drastically deteriorated and hindered her daily life activities. By performing the total hip replacement surgery and limb correction we successfully managed to alleviate the patient’s pain and enabled her to regain the ability to perform daily tasks and functions.”

The surgery involved minimally invasive incisions and the patient was able to walk in less than 24 hours without experiencing any pain. As part of Aster Hospital’s post-op protocols, the patient also underwent mild sessions of physiotherapy and was able to walk without any support or walking aids by the third week post-surgery.

Commenting on her recovery the patient said: “Throughout my life, I experienced discomfort while performing simple activities like going up the stairs where I would always lean on one side to climb up. At the time, I used to think that this was completely normal, but I was very lucky to find Dr Manjunatha and his team at Aster Hospital, who made an effort to detect the root cause of the problem and diagnosed the real reason behind the discomfort that I was facing. Thanks to the team at Aster, I am now able to perform daily tasks with ease and pain-free.”

Dysplastic hip occurs in two forms, namely partial subluxation and complete dislocation. It is more likely for the condition to be diagnosed when it occurs in a single joint, however in the patient’s case; it remained undiagnosed until the age of 58. A dysplastic hip condition is generally recognised and corrected at one of the following stages1,2:

  • At the time of birth
  • When a child starts walking at age 1 or 1.5 years, he/she may face a delay
  • During teenage years
  • During pregnancy
  • In the late 30’s
  • At the end of osteoarthritis

*Patient’s name has been kept anonymous for patient confidentiality purposes.

Dr. Manjunatha GS 

Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon 

Aster Hospital Mankhool 

News Sources:

Gulf News 


Aster Hospital Welcomed Mothers from Kerala as a Part of Hit FM’s Initiative ‘For You Mom’ Season 8

  • 13 mothers from Kerala received advise on health and well-being from Aster Hospital.
  • A healthy take home message to the 13 mothers of Hit FM’s Initiative ‘For You Mom’ Season 8 in association with Aster Hospital.

It takes someone really brave to be a mother, someone strong to raise a child and someone special to love someone more than herself. Mothers often overlook taking care of themselves while they’re taking care of their family. Living away from your mother, especially in a far off land, increases our concerns about our mothers all the more.

In order to make these mother’s feel even more special, Aster Hospital, Mankhool welcomed 13 mothers from Kerala, brought to Dubai as part of Hit FM’s Initiative ‘For You Mom’ Season 8. Aster Hospital Mankhool showered these mothers with all the love and appreciation that they truly deserve.

In an event held at Aster Hospital, Mankhool on Wednesday, 24th May, these special mothers were provided with a health checkup that included monitoring of Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar and BMI levels, to ensure their well-being. Each of the mothers also consulted a General Practitioner who prescribed them the necessary medication and medical advise, basis their reports. Further, the medications prescribed to them was given to them as a token of affection, free of charge by Aster Pharmacy.

To ensure that the health and well-being of the mothers are monitored regularly from their home itself, they were given BP, blood sugar & temperature monitoring devices. A demo session on how to use these devices was also conducted by Aster Hospital’s nurses. With old age, pain management & skin care is essential, yet often ignored, hence some Skincare products & hot packs were also given to ensure that they take good care of themselves. In honour of the gift of life, each one of us has received from our mothers, Aster Hospital tried to give back a little to the mothers and thanked them for their sacrifices and promised to treat them well.

The event was attended by members of HIT FM and the Management team at Aster Hospital. From creating a loving bond between mothers and their children to celebrating milestones like Mother’s Day, Aster Hospital is always at the forefront to provide every individual and every family to have the best experience with their loved ones. Blessed with the love and prayers of the mothers, Aster Hospital takes pride in honouring these mothers and salutes their efforts and the efforts of HIT FM & ARN team.

News Source – Siraj Newspaper


Pray in Comfort

Activities such as kneeling and bending can put pressure on the knees and joints which can cause discomfort and potential injuries. Therefore, it is important to be careful while performing such activities to avoid any injuries. For example, when you kneel down to pray, be gentle and do not fall on your knees as the impactful force applied may hurt the knees. Additionally, if you experience knee/joint pain caused by arthritis, you can sit on a chair and pray rather than kneel down. If the pain is only during praying, i.e when bending the knee it is advisable to consult an orthopaedician to check the root cause of the pain.

Using incorrect angles and postures can aggravate knee pain, hence it is advisable to find the right posture for those with an existing knee condition in order to avoid causing stress to a particular part of the body. If the pain in the knee is only while kneeling, try using knee pads while praying. Stretching exercises can help reduce the pain. It is highly recommended to consult a specialist if the pain persists as there could be an underlying issue.


Dr. Ranjith Narayan

Specialist in Orthopaedic Surgery

Aster Hospital Mankhool

Read more about more about Dr. Ranjith Narayan

News Source – Gulf News Special Supplement

Quitting Smoking & Caffeine, Side Effects & Tips

We all know Ramadan does not only mean fasting without food or water, but also stopping smoking and drinking coffee or tea for as long as 15 hours daily. This can become really hard for people who have gotten used to their morning cigarette or for those of us who need a strong espresso shot before the day begins.

We spoke to Dr. Mustafa Saif, Specialist Internal Medicine at Aster Hospital and Head of Emergency Department to help us understand what happens when someone suddenly stops smoking or consuming caffeine, and how to cope with the issues that come with such drastic changes.

What is withdrawal?

Often associated with illegal drugs or addictive substances, withdrawal or withdrawal symptoms refer to the body’s reaction to a sudden and drastic reduction in intake of the substances. While some of these reactions are manageable, others can affect daily life, mobility and mental health.

Smoking or caffeine addiction

Smoking is something people can get easily addicted to and affected by even though the dangers are advertised on the product itself. While chain smoking might be considered more of an addiction than one cigarette a day – even that counts as addiction if you cannot do without it.

Another addiction people have without thinking of it as such is of caffeine. Tea, coffee, sodas – all of these fluids have various levels of caffeine. In small amounts caffeine is harmless and even boosts health in certain situations. However, addiction is usually the case for many people who regularly consume coffee or sodas, and weaning off of it usually brings on withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine withdrawal during Ramadan

The substance in cigarettes that people get addicted to is nicotine. Smokers who stop during Ramadan may experience withdrawal symptoms, 3 to 5 days within stopping, including irritability, anger and difficulty in concentrating. They might also crave smoking so much that they chain smoke after breaking their fast, inhaling a lot of smoke in a very short time and right after a heavy iftar meal.

The urge to binge on carb-heavy foods to avoid smoking is another side effect – leading to weight gain. Apart from the physical withdrawal symptoms that may last for many days, the psychological aspect of the urge to smoke may last longer, leading to relapses.

There is also the myth that traditional shisha is a healthier option. Ramadan is a time when people smoke shisha for hours either socialising or breaking their fast in iftar tents or restaurants. This can be more dangerous than regular smoking.

Quitting smoking for Ramadan and onwards

Dr. Mustafa Saif feels that Ramadan is the best time to quit smoking for good. “In addition to the fasting aspect, the fact that most people do control smoking for over 14 hours is proof of the fact that they can try and quit for good. Long hours of fasting lead to a drop in the nicotine level in the blood making it much easier for smokers to quit”, he told Gulf News Guides. Here are the tips he has for smokers:

  1. Use nicotine patches during the month of Ramadan as these can control the withdrawal symptoms and help quit the unhealthy habit in time.
  2. Supplement unhealthy food with healthier options like carrots, cucumber and more fiber to avoid over indulging on the carb-heavy iftar favourites.
  3. Start the iftar meal with soup to help feel fuller and avoid carbohydrate-rich food
  4. Take a resolution to quit as nothing is stronger than the will to quit smoking

Caffeine withdrawal during Ramadan

A lot of people rely on coffee to start their day, they feel alert and fresh once they sip their morning coffee. Dr. Saif says, “Caffeine is the most commonly abused drug which is consumable only in certain amounts.”

Caffeine addicts complain of severe headaches during the initial days of Ramadan until they get used to the routine. They experience withdrawal symptoms like tiredness, lethargy, irritability, lack of concentration, insomnia, anxiety and dizziness.

Coping mechanism

  1. Start practicing early; caffeine addicts must reduce their daily caffeine intake before the onset of Ramadan.
  2. A strong cup of coffee or tea during suhoor can help avoid headaches during the day.
  3. Try and avoid coffee all together for Ramadan, during or after iftar as well, as the excess intake of caffeine leads to dehydration and increases thirst.

Dr. Mustafa Saif

Specialist in Internal Medicine & HOD of Emergency Department 

Aster Hospital Mankhool 

To know more about Dr. Mustafa Saif, visit – Dr. Mustafa Saif 

News Source – Gulf News 


Emirates Neurology Society partners with Aster Hospital & Clinic to raise awareness about Hypertension and Stroke in UAE

Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. As per reports of the World Health Organization (WHO), globally 1 billion people suffer from high BP, out of which two thirds of the people are from developing countries.

In 2025, the WHO estimated that the total number of people suffering from high blood pressure will increase to 1.56 billion from the current 1 billion. In the UAE, 75% of people who suffer from a stroke are due to high blood pressure and 50% of these have never been diagnosed or treated for high BP.

Acknowledging the alarming rise in the incidence of hypertension & stroke in the UAE, Emirates Neurology Society has launched hypertension and stroke awareness campaign in collaboration with Aster Hospital & Clinic. This campaign aims to educate the public about the risk-factors and prevention of High BP & its resultant acute & chronic conditions.

The awareness campaign was officiated on Sunday, 21st May at Aster Hospital Mankhool. The campaign offers free health check-up for 3 days from 21st – 23rd May, at Aster Hospital and Aster Clinics across UAE in AbuDhabi (Hamdan St.), Dubai (Al Muteena, Bur Dubai, Al Qusais, International City), Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman.

Hypertension increases the risk of chronic conditions including stroke, myocardial infarction, neurological & kidney disorders. Stroke is one of the leading causes of mortality, along with cardiovascular diseases and is also the number one cause of chronic disabilities in the world. 50% of the population of UAE are unaware about their High BP as in most cases hypertension does not have any obvious symptoms to indicate that something is wrong. Individuals with hypertension can live for years without experiencing any symptoms or health issues, causing it to be a silent killer.

In the UAE, one third of the population above the age of 22 suffer from high blood pressure.

The high BP screening is particularly beneficial for those above the age of 45 years and smokers, as ageing & smoking increases the risk of hypertension by causing a decrease in the elasticity of the arteries.

Dr Suhail Al Rukn, Stroke and Neurology Consultant and President of Emirates Neurology Society, said: “This is our first collaboration with Aster Hospital & Clinic, we hope to create awareness among 100,000 people in the UAE, about the risks of hypertension and its ways of management. Being one of the largest healthcare providers in the UAE, Aster’s multiple healthcare facilities across the Emirates will help us gain a wider reach within the communities.

The need for this awareness campaign arises from the alarming statistics of the incidence of Hypertension in the UAE. As a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, dependence on fatty foods and a diet high in salts is common in the region, more and more awareness is required about these risk factors. “In the UAE, 18 to 20 percent of the population is obese, 20 percent of the population are diabetics. Moreover, high salt consumption is a major issue. The average amount of salt needed on a daily basis in 2 grams, however, the average amount of salt people in the UAE consume per day is 15 grams which are above the required limit.”

Dr Rukn, further added those screened with one or more risk factors, should be referred to a consultant and should opt for the stroke risk calculator test, which tabulates the likelihood of a person getting a stroke in the next ten years.

In the coming years, a consortium of public & private healthcare providers will be built to discuss future strategies to decrease the no. of high Blood Pressure patients in the society, thereby decreasing the numbers of related cardiovascular, neurological & nephrological disorders.

Aster DM Healthcare, the parent entity of Aster Hospital is conducting various programs as part of the Aster@30 celebration, to educate the community about various health concerns and to promote prevention through public health reach out and mass screenings. “We consider it as an honour to be collaborating with Emirates Neurology Society. This collaboration highlights our commitment to promote health and well-being amongst the population of UAE. Health Awareness campaigns such as these are a wake-up call for people, assisting them to understand where they stand in health matters. As a leading healthcare provider in the region, we are committed and determined to improve the health of the population of UAE in order to further aid in building a healthier nation,” concluded Dr. Sherbaz Bichu, Chief Executive Officer at Aster Hospital Mankhool, Dubai.

About Emirates Neurology Society

Emirates Neurology Society is a scientific society formed as the division of Emirates Medical Association (EMA). EMA was established as a non-profit organisation composed of health practitioners that are members of the EMA as defined by its bylaws. EMA is responsible for supervising and conducting scientific training, events and conferences as well as collaborating with health organisations. EMA is a scientific organisation which has legal personality, and its Headquarter in Dubai, with one branch in Abu Dhabi.

International CME on Lifestyle Disorders

Aster DM Healthcare organised an International CME on Lifestyle Disorders, which saw the attendance of medical professionals from within the local and International network of Aster. With the objective of offering a platform for Doctors across different specialities, to come together and discuss latest treatment modalities and practices to ensure development by preventing lifestyle disorders, Aster DM Healthcare organised the fourth edition of

With the objective of offering a platform for Doctors across different specialities, to come together and discuss latest treatment modalities and practices to ensure development by preventing lifestyle disorders, Aster DM Healthcare organised the fourth edition of Synerge International Medical Conference on ‘Lifestyle Disorders’ on Friday, 28th April 2017. The one day conference was addressed by specialists from across different verticals of Aster DM Healthcare, including; Aster Medcity (Kochi), Medcare Medical Centre (Dubai), Aster Hospital (Dubai) and Aster Clinic (Dubai).

Dr. Azad Moopen, Chairman and Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare said “I consider lifestyle disorder as the epidemic that is going to affect mankind in the long run as a silent killer. Being one of the leading providers of healthcare services in the Gulf and India, it is our responsibility to influence positive & preventive changes in the field of medicine. The International CME on Lifestyle Disorders is aimed at developing awareness among physicians and the public on common lifestyle diseases. This International CME puts light on the key concerns of lifestyle related health issues people face, particularly in this part of the world where most people lead sedentary lifestyles. The call to hold this CME was because, lifestyle medicine is the foundation for preventing and treating numerous chronic diseases. Aster DM Healthcare focuses on building responsibility among the medical professionals to effectively promote healthy lifestyle changes to their patients by creating awareness among them to understand and effectively manage their health.”

“As per reports, cardiovascular diseases are on the rise in UAE and are accountable for 30% of overall deaths. We often come across patients who have suffered chronic conditions like hypertension for years together without experiencing any symptoms, further preventing diagnosis of the condition. Such conditions if continue for prolonged periods lead to cardio vascular and other life threatening complications. In line with the government’s vision of 2021 to achieve a health care system with reduced lifestyle diseases, this CME helps physician’s keep up with current trends in the medical field. The field of medicine is a constantly evolving dynamic industry where conferences such as this will help experts improve their competence and refine their skills for overall patient experience,” said Dr. T.M. Jaison Specialist Cardiologist, Aster Clinic, UAE.

“According to the Scientific and Research Committee of the Emirates Gastroenterology Society, as of 2014, more than 30% of the population of UAE suffered from acid reflux which adds up to nearly 3 million people being affected by the disorder in the UAE today. CME’s help address challenges faced by healthcare practitioners within their specialty and help to stay updated with changes in the industry. It is gives medical professionals a platform to interact with colleagues from across specialties and enhance their skills through panel discussions and interactions which in turn helps deliver the best practices for care and well-being of patients,“ said Dr. Amal Upadhyay, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Aster Hospital, UAE.

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) accredited the conference with 6 (Continuing Medical Education) CME points. The highly significant medical conference addressed by leading experts discussed key lifestyle disorders and topics, including; Bariatric Surgery, Cardiovascular imaging in the detection and assessment of heart diseases, Why treat 360 degree? The need for comprehensive patient’s management, Obesity in Pregnancy, Management of hypertension-from guidelines to practice, Prevention of diabetes, New frontiers in Heart Failure management, Obesity .Pandora’s Box, GERD and OSA: What is the relationship?

Aster DM Healthcare intends to host more international CME’s and forums in order to share clinical expertise and updates on subjects of varied interest among the medical community in order to ultimately benefit the community at large.

News Source –,%20Fitness%20and%20Medicine

Woman Wakes Up After 80 Days in Coma

A 31-year-old Nepalese expatriate who spent 80 days in semi-comatose condition during which she had emergency caesarean section surgery has woken up following a miraculous recovery, doctors said on Monday.

Devi Lama Shrestha, woke up early this month on April 9 and found her husband Lokendra Shrestha, 32, by her side at Aster Hospital in Mankhool, Dubai.

Dr Sherbaz Bichu, Aster Hospital CEO said it was a miracle. “We took on the case as a challenge and at times were in doubt about her chances of survival. However, the unwavering love and dedication of her husband inspired us. He told us we had to save his wife, otherwise, he would die along with her. He held a vigil by her bedside all along and helped us keep our determination strong and steady throughout.”

Devi and Lokendra fell in love while working together at a popular coffee shop chain and married last year in June. Little did they know that such a close brush with death awaited Devi who was six months into her pregnancy.

“My wife was pregnant with our first child and was six months and four days into her pregnancy when she suddenly fell ill at work on January 16. She had a high fever and severe vomiting bouts so I brought her to the hospital. However, after three days of hospital stay, she got worse and suddenly collapsed and had to be admitted to the ICU,” Shrestha told Gulf News.

Specialist in Internal Medicine Dr Chaitanya Prabhu, who treated her, said: “The patient came to us with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) which is possible during pregnancy. Her lungs were inflamed with infection and filled with fluids. Apart from this primary complication, she had a very poor heart function with an irregular rhythm. Her kidneys and her liver were affected and with this, the chances of her survival were highly compromised. We also diagnosed a mitral valve defect which she will have to get operated for later. With all these complications we had to induce her into coma to put her under intensive medication protocol and she had to have a tracheostomy and was put on a ventilator as she was not capable of breathing independently.”

Due to the risk of multi-organ failure, ARDS, her heart condition and muscle weakness, Devi could not sustain the pregnancy and underwent an emergency Caesarean section.

Usually, patients are put on assisted breathing devices like ventilators for a maximum of 14 days and gradually weaned off, but Devi remained on the ventilator for a little over three months.

“She had a lot of muscle weakness and her diaphragm muscles could not carry out independent breathing,” said Dr Jyoti Upadhyay, an Internal Medicine Specialist on the team. “Many times we had doubts about her survival and we consulted our ICU teams in India to review if there was something we had got wrong. It was a touch-and-go situation but Devi was a determined patient, fighting for her life silently and the ICU team too puts its heart and soul in caring for her round the clock. Usually, patients are not put on ventilators for so long. They are weaned off after a few weeks.”

Devi who has revived since April 9 has been moved to a regular room and is undergoing active physiotherapy to regain strength so that she can recover her strength and move back to her village Kothung in Nepal.

She recalls nothing of the past 100 days except a recurrent dream that she was travelling on a train with people. “I could see a lot of Feng Shui signs along my journey and one woman whose face I cannot recall, took special care of me. Probably she was my guardian angel,” said Devi, grateful to be alive.

A graduate in English literature, Devi now plans to return to her village in Khotung Nepal and open a linguistic academy. “In my village children are not taught the proper pronunciation in English. I had earlier saved money and opened a boarding school in Kathmandu which had to be disposed of. Now I plan to open a school from kindergarten to high school where the right kind of education is imparted to the children of my village,” she said.

Dr Prabhu said it would take another six months of full rehabilitation that will include neuro and physical therapy along with the right kind of diet and nutrition to get the patient back on her feet after which Devi plans to open the first three sections of her dream school.

What is ARDS?

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome is a life-threatening lung disease characterised by inflammation of the lungs. It is marked by a fluid build-up in the tiny air sacs (aleveoli) in the lungs that prevent oxygen from reaching the bloodstream and causes breathlessness in patients. The survival chances of patients with ARDS are very slim. Any kind of pulmonary distress carries high rate of maternal and foetal morbidity

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Should Potatoes be Included in your Diet?

Hospital News - 7th AprilPotatoes are an excellent source of carbohydrates that should be eaten in moderation, say, dieticians.

For many people, potato fries, or chips, are a satisfying bowl of comfort food. However, what many are unaware off, is that one medium potato, is equivalent to 165 calories, and 37 grams carbohydrates when boiled, baked, or steamed and almost double the amount of calories when fried.

With French fries being a popular option at most eateries and fast food joints, people find themselves munching on potato fries, which have been included as a side dish in their meal.

Listed as one of top five most important crops worldwide, alongside wheat, corn, rice, and sugar, potatoes are an excellent source of carbohydrates that should be eaten in moderation, Sushma Girish Ghag, Dietitian, Aster Hospital told Gulf News.

Whether mashed, boiled, or baked, potatoes are a starchy tuber, that is low in fibre and digests rapidly providing energy as well as vitamin C, potassium and zinc, Ms. Sushma Ghag explained.

For those suffering from obesity, high blood sugar, diabetes, glucose intolerance, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and any type of cholesterol, consuming potatoes regularly, especially when fried will negatively impact their body.

“I would recommend average consumption of unfried potatoes, no more than three times a week for people who require a source of energy for sports, as well as those with low haemoglobin levels, are anaemic, or need to gain weight,” suggested Ms. Sushma Ghag.

Avoid eating potatoes if you suffer from any of the following:

  • Obesity
  • High blood sugar
  • Diabetes
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • High triglyceride level or any type of cholesterol

Include boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes in your diet, no more than three times a week:

  • If you require a source of energy for sports
  • If you have low haemoglobin levels or are anaemic
  • If you need to gain weight
  • If you have no appetite and need to maintain a healthy BMI level
  • For heart health
  • To reduce blood pressure
  • To reduce inflammation
  • If you find difficulty chewing solid food due to old age
  • Mashed potatoes for babies as their energy requirement is high due to rapid growth and development

Ms. Sushma Ghag, Dietitian 

Aster Hospital Mankhool  

Sushama - Dietitian

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Dr.Manjunatha Talks About The Causes, Treatments And Surgical Procedures For Common OrthoPaedic Conditions

What are the causes that lead to knee and foot movement impairment in some patients?

Dysfunction of the peroneal nerve causes loss of movement and sensation in the lower leg, foot and toes. Peroneal nerve is one in the lower part of the limb, located behind the knee that stimulates the muscles controlling the foot and toes. Disturbance in the functioning of the peroneal nerve can be caused at any age. Musculoskeletal conditions pose a serious health challenge to people because of its increasing prevalence and its grave impact on people’s quality of life.

One among the most important causes of leg and foot pain is the damage caused to the peroneal nerve. The damage may be caused due to an injury sustained during a rigorous physical activity or any medical condition. Causative factors of lack of mobility may also include;

* Trauma or injury to the knee (sports activities like playing football)

* Wearing tall boots that come up to the knee regularly

* Injury from being in an awkward position during a surgery, sleep or coma

* Fracture of a bone in the lower leg

* Injury during knee surgeries

Can you please elaborate on some of these cases/ conditions?

Most people sit cross legged at least at some time in the day and the list of consequences of sitting in this manner for prolonged hours include high blood pressure, varicose veins and nerve damage. It is, in fact, true for any position, if you sit in a particular positon for a long period of time your leg can become numb. Sitting cross legged puts pressure on the peroneal nerve on the lateral side of the knee and is often considered to cause nerve damage. Sitting cross legged can cause numbness and temporary paralysis of a few muscles in the leg and foot. Crossing your legs while sitting is like inviting back and neck pain, if not positioned properly. This particular manner of sitting results in rotation of the pelvic bone. What are the treatment options for these cases and what are the most up to date techniques being used, in terms of surgery etc.

What are the treatment options for these cases and what are the most up to date techniques being used, in terms of surgery etc.

In the case of damage to the peroneal nerve, the aim of treatment will be to help the patient regain mobility. The treatments will also include treating conditions that lead to peroneal nerve damage, i.e. people who are extremely thin, people with diabetes and people with certain genetic diseases of the nerve are susceptible to peroneal nerve damage. In such cases, these conditions are also treated.

The mode of treatment for nerve damage depends on the causative factor of the condition. If the cause of nerve damage is compression by sitting cross legged, doctors may advice knee pads that discourage sitting with crossed legs and remind you to be careful when sitting.

Surgery helps in removing tumours in the nerve and also helps in relieving compression. Surgery may be required if no other treatment technique results in improvement in the patient’s case. Physical therapy may be required to help maintain muscle strength and mobility aids may also be required to assist in movements.

Can such conditions be prevented? If so, can you provide some tips?

There are measures that can be undertaken to prevent or delay nerve disorders. An injury cannot be predicted, neither can the severity of the injury. Certain preventive measures can, however, help avoid nerve disorders or even delay any further damage to an existing injury.

* Treating any injury at the earliest is key to preventing any serious damage. The more the injury is sustained the more serious will the consequences be.

* If any form of dressing or cast on the leg causes a feeling of being tight or numb, it needs to be changed.

* Take care of your leg and consult a specialist on having any pain, swelling, infection, injury or any other visible symptoms. Get treatment at the earliest.

* Get appropriate medicated shoes /orthotics if necessary. Special shoes may help reduce any pain during walking or any other activity.

* Be careful when exercising, as certain exercises are not suitable for patients with a nerve condition or any condition with a troubled knee.

Dr.Manjunatha G.S

Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon 

Aster Hospital Mankhool

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