University Hospital Sharjah’s international ties with Germany for medical expertise to treat diabetic patients

L-R-Prof.-Dr.-Thomas-Zeller,-Head-of-Angiology-Department,-Freiburg-Univ...Sharjah, UAE, 18 June 2016 – University Hospital Sharjah (UHS) had tied up with a leading German hospital for medical advice on the treatment of diabetic patients suffering from blocked arteries, with Prof. Dr. Thomas Zeller, Head of Angiology Department, Freiburg University (Germany), and UHS team had performed under his supervision interventional procedures on 9 patients.

The visiting professor is a past Member of the Guideline Committee of the European Society of Cardiology and a 
Member of the Scientific Committee of Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics.

Ousama Mahdi, Head of Department Interventional Cardiology at UHS, said:

“Arterial blockage is very common among diabetic patients, but many are left untreated as the condition is not always discovered until severe symptoms set in. In general, men tend to suffer more than women from these conditions; however, it is a common condition among elderly diabetic patients of both genders.”

Dr. Mahdi said that Prof. Zeller’s visit and the knowledge-sharing established with the Freiburg-based German university hospital helped both patients and UHS’s medical staff.

Among the 9 patients that were treated was a man suffering from peripheral artery disease. This is a condition where “plaques” build up in the arteries carrying blood to the brain, other vital organs and the limbs.

A common symptom of peripheral artery disease is painful leg cramps on walking or moving, which occurs due to lack of blood flow to the muscles.

Another patient suffered from an aneurysm, which is a balloon-like dilatation of the weakened vascular wall in front of the high or even normal blood pressure, with a resultant severe compromise of the patient’s blood flow with potentially fatal consequences.

The supporting UHS team also treated a patient with atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis. In this case, the stenosis of renal arteries lead to hypertension and subsequent renal damage, said Dr. Mahdi. He also confirmed that whenever possible it is best to treat these conditions early, especially when complications like trophic foot ulcers are resistant to cure.


One of the common complications of atherosclerosis is the disease known as “diabetic foot”, where nerve damage results in the loss of feet sensations. Dr. Mahdi mentioned that a diabetic patient who feels pain on walking or has lower blood pressure in the leg compared to the arms  will most probably have peripheral arterial disease.

As a leading medical centre of excellence, UHS deploys high-tech, specialized equipment that can measure the circulation, blood flow rate, and show the structure of the blood vessels in the extremities. This allows specialists to diagnose the problem early, with subsequent interventional treatment involving the use of a long, thin, flexible tube called a “catheter” to re-vascularize the blocked or narrowed arteries.

Common procedural practice is to advance the catheter through an arterial puncture in the groin to the blocked area, in order to dilate the stenosed arteries.

With about 15% of the UAE population suffering from diabetes, UHS doctors strongly recommend cessation of smoking among diabetics, besides achieving a standard healthy body weight, so as to not aggravate the conditions of peripheral arterial disease any further.

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