20 Years of Lung Transplantation in Austria

Exactly 20 years ago, the first successful lung transplantation in Austria was performed at the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery of the Medical University Clinic Vienna. What started as a first attempt of an entirely new form of treatment has rapidly become an established procedure. The demand for lung transplantations has reached unexpected dimensions. The number of patients transplanted now exceeds 100 per year. Overall, more than 1000 patients have been transplanted in Vienna and received lifelong care, making the centre the largest in Europe and the second-largest lung transplantation centre worldwide after the University Pittsburgh, USA. Key factors of Vienna’s success are the availability and efficient use of donor organs. Professor Dr. Walter Klepetko, Head of the Lung Transplantation Centre, used Austria’s geographical position at a very early stage to establish cooperation with the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, Estonia, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey within “Twinning Agreements”, supervised by Eurotransplant. Thus a multinational program was developed. The so called “Transborder Care” gives patients of those countries which don’t have their own program access to a lung transplantation and post transplant care in Vienna. On the occasion of this anniversary, a scientific symposium was held in Vienna on 13 November 2009, which dealt with the development and importance of Lung Transplantation at the Medical University/General Hospital Vienna.

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