Leading European experts are expected to give lectures on the most current issues in thoracic and abdominal organ transplantation at a training course organized by the Department of Surgery, Transplantation and Gastroenterology at Semmelweis University. All organ transplantation professionals in the country are invited to the Transplant Today event on 25 March, and the organisers strongly encourage university students interested in the subject to attend. The symposium is going to be offered as an elective course for credit as well.

„The international training course Transplant Today offers professionals and students a programme worthy of Semmelweis University’s leading role in the field of transplantation,” emphasized Dr. Attila Szijártó, Director of the Department of Surgery, Transplantation and Gastroenterology. During the full-day event on 25 March, leading experts of Europe will speak on the most topical issues, novelties and challenges of heart, lung, liver, pancreas and kidney transplantation, as well as organ preservation, among others. „The symposium, which will be held in English, is aimed at transplant professionals from four medical schools, who are all invited to attend. Students from Semmelweis University are also expected to attend the symposinum, which is planned to be an optional course for them,” added Dr. Attila Szijártó.

The director reminded that Semmelweis University plays a leading role in the field of organ transplantation nationally, and is also at the forefront of Eurotransplant countries. In Hungary, more than 300 transplants were performed last year, 70 percent of which were carried out at transplant centres of Semmelweis University.

Adult heart transplants and liver transplants are only performed here at a national level, and in regard to kidney transplants, more than 60 percent have been performed at the university. Dr. Attila Szijártó pointed out that one in five kidney transplants last year was a living donor, which is a satisfactory result compared to the national average, but the aim is to increase this even further.

One of the ways to increase the number and efficiency of organ transplantations would be the promotion of mechanical perfusion therapy to support organ preservation, which is the subject of two upcoming presentations.

Dr. Attila Szijártó emphasized that organ transplantation is a continuously developing field of medicine, which has been expanding in recent years with a number of exciting innovations. This conference will provide an opportunity to establish professional contacts across Europe, explore cooperation possibilities, and thus to further integrate the university clinic into the international scientific bloodstream of this field.

Besides Dr. Attila Szijártó, the organizing committee of the conference includes Dr. László Piros, Deputy Director of the Department of Transplantation and Surgery and Dr. Imre Fehérvári, Associate Professor of the Department.

„The symposium will focus on the scientific achievements and novelties that can be directly applied in clinical practice,” Dr. László Piros pointed out. He highlighted the use of organs from „non-heart-beating”, brain dead donors (DCD, Donation after Circulatory Death) as one of the possibilities to increase donor numbers, which are not yet available in Hungary. In most Eurotransplant countries, this is an applied procedure, but in Hungary it would require a legislative amendment. The speakers at the forthcoming event will give account of the experience gained so far in this field as well.

Among the topics Dr. Imre Fehérvári highlighted the issue of normothermic mechanical perfusion, which is also widespread in Europe. The idea is to place the donor organ in a perfusion machine that provides blood flow for 4-6 hours after the extraction. This significantly improves the condition and quality of the organ; the procedure increases the number of organs available for transplant by 25-30% and also makes the operation more predictable by extending the window of time before transplantation,” he said. According to experts, the method is currently being introduced into domestic care.

The Transplant Today event will feature a presentation on the above topic by Dr. Rutger J. Ploeg, Professor at the University of Oxford and former President of the European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT), also known as „the Pope of organ preservation”. Among others, he will be joined by Dr. Luciano Potena, the current president of the aforementioned society, who will also speak about his future visions on the field.

„The event will be attended by ’big names’ in the transplant profession, who are rarely heard at the same time and place. In the light of this, we especially recommend participation to university students who would like to gain insight into how the greatest European experts present on these topics,” said Dr. Imre Fehérvári and Dr. László Piros.

Pálma Dobozi
Translation: Viktória Kiss
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University