The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Abdul Latif Jameel Health, launched a pioneering new medical procedure for the surgical reconstruction of the aortic heart valve that is projected to save more lives. The procedure makes Saudi Arabia the first country in the Gulf region to use the AVNeo technology for open-heart surgery. The US and Japan are among the first countries to use this technology, followed by Germany, Russia, Italy and Britain.
AVNeo (Aortic Valve Neocuspidization), which was provided by the Japanese Organization for Medical Device Development (JOMDD), is a standardized revolutionary procedural technique suitable for all age groups. According to medical studies, patients receiving the procedure will not be required to continue taking medication six months post-surgery.
According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases account for 37 percent of deaths and are among the main causes of premature death in Saudi Arabia. These diseases are also increasingly becoming the leading cause of death globally, taking an estimated 18.6 million lives in 2019, which represents 16 percent of the world’s total deaths.
Developed by Professor Shigeyuki Ozaki, the procedure, which uses the patient’s autologous pericardium, is an innovative surgery for any aortic valve disease. Over the past 10 years, Prof. Ozaki has performed more than 1,100 cases and, to date, more than 5,000 cases have been performed globally. According to the latest data available (2018), as seen in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, “the 10-year survival rate was 85.9 percent for AVNeo” compared to less than 80 percent for alternative procedures.
The agreement was signed at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Riyadh in the presence of Najlaa Kateb, director general of the Innovation Center at the Ministry of Health; Dr. Adel Tash, adult consultant cardiac surgeon; and Dr. Samira Al-Ghamdi, director general of the General Department of Specialized Centers. Abdul Latif Jameel Health was represented by Faisal Alsamannoudi, vice chairman and CEO of Abdul Latif Jameel Enterprises; Rowaid Al-Sawaf, chief corporate affairs officer, and Ahmed Al-Kathiri, general manager, projects department.
Kateb said: “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 healthcare. The Ministry of Health continues its efforts through the ‘Future Foresight’ program at the Innovation Center, which aims to leverage the latest medical technological solutions and make them available to patients.”
Alsamannoudi said: “We are proud of this collaboration with the Ministry of Health, a pioneer in the health sector, implementing innovative projects to improve patient services. 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 groundbreaking innovation in our work moving forward.
The Ministry of Health and Abdul Latif Jameel Health are currently seeking to have the new medical technique formally approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, including setting up a program to train medical staff of the Ministry of Health inside and outside the Kingdom to perform AVNeo operations under the supervision of Dr. Tash.