Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on kidney transplantation: focus on the Sicilian experience

Abstract

The COronaVIrus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has rapidly changed hospital structures in our country, radically modifying clinical activity. Nephrology, and kidney transplant in particular, has been heavily influenced by it, with a reduced number of organ donations and, consequently, transplantations.

Here we report the data on kidney transplants in our region, Sicily, for the period 2019-July 2021, and we analyze the effects of the pandemic.

Keywords: Covid-19, pandemic, kidney transplantation, Sicilian experience

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Introduzione

La pandemia da Covid-19 ci ha colti estremamente impreparati, con drammatiche conseguenze di tipo sociale, economico e politico. La crisi sanitaria che ne è scaturita, è stata caratterizzata da una rapida e drastica trasformazione degli ospedali dell’intero paese.

In particolare, la sindrome respiratoria acuta severa da coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV 2) ha posto una serie di problematiche di decision-making clinico ed amministrativo in tutto l’ambito nefrologico, e soprattutto nell’area dei trapianti di rene. Sin dalla sua prima manifestazione alla fine del 2019 [1], è apparso chiaro il maggior rischio di morte e di gravi complicanze respiratorie per i pazienti immunocompromessi, tra cui i riceventi di trapianto d’organo solido [2]. Inoltre, il rischio di sviluppare la malattia da un donatore di organi infetto era sconosciuto. Fattori epidemiologici, periodo di incubazione, viremia e vitalità del CoV-2 nel sangue e nei compartimenti dei diversi organi rendono inoltre variabile la probabilità di trasmissione del virus.

In tale contesto, i centri di trapianto renale della Regione Sicilia e di tutta Italia hanno dovuto far fronte a numerosi problemi di gestione clinica, correlati all’elevata incidenza di infezione in alcune aree del nostro paese [3]. Proprio per l’eterogeneità dei tassi di incidenza regionali dell’infezione, i centri sono stati lasciati liberi di sviluppare delle linee guida interne relative ai diversi aspetti dell’attività trapiantologica, attenendosi comunque alle linee guida del Centro Nazionale Trapianti in merito alla gestione dei donatori [4].

La comunità scientifica internazionale e le organizzazioni di trapianto con un pronto e immediato sistema di collaborazione hanno, infatti, utilizzato le conoscenze disponibili e le esperienze dei centri operanti nelle aree endemiche più coinvolte, per creare delle linee guida per gli operatori sanitari.

 

I trapianti in Italia e nel mondo

Secondo una recente indagine epidemiologica condotta in 22 paesi e pubblicata su Lancet Public Health, durante la prima ondata della pandemia da SARS-CoV 2 il numero dei trapianti d’organo nel mondo è diminuito di un terzo rispetto allo stesso periodo dell’anno precedente, con casi di interruzione dell’attività chirurgica fino al 90%. I trapianti di rene, in tale contesto, hanno mostrato la maggiore riduzione (circa il 40%). L’attività di trapianto si è ridotta in misura marcata nei paesi dove ci sono stati più decessi a causa del Covid ma in Italia, USA, Slovenia, Svizzera e Belgio, nonostante l’elevata mortalità, l’attività è presto ripresa [5]. Nel corso di questa pandemia, si è passati, infatti, da un momento iniziale di arresto dell’attività trapiantologica, limitata a trapianti urgenti salvavita, all’attuale momento storico in cui, forti delle esperienze positive, esistono protocolli che consentono di utilizzatore organi da donatori guariti dall’infezione.

Ad oggi, non è stata ancora segnalata alcuna trasmissione di Cov-2 con il trapianto di organi e le esperienze preliminari effettuate nel nostro paese con l’utilizzo di organi da donatori con infezione virale attiva, di cui una delle prime in Sicilia, con un trapianto di fegato, non hanno comportato alcuna conseguenza negativa nei riceventi. Secondo il protocollo stilato dal Centro Nazionale Trapianti, è possibile effettuare trapianti di organi salvavita provenienti da donatori deceduti positivi al Covid. Secondo le linee guida, i pazienti devono essere in gravi condizioni cliniche, per le quali, a giudizio del team medico responsabile del trapianto, il rischio di morte o di evoluzione di gravi patologie connesso al mantenimento in lista d’attesa rende accettabile quello conseguente all’eventuale trasmissione di patologia donatore-ricevente.

 

I trapianti in Sicilia

La Sicilia è stata tra le regioni italiane inizialmente meno colpite dalla pandemia, che stava invece vessando le regioni settentrionali. Le esperienze dei centri trapianto del Nord Italia sono state fondamentali per consentirci di lavorare in anticipo creando un sistema sicuro.

Per quanto concerne la Regione Sicilia, nonostante la pandemia, tutti i centri sono rimasti attivi con un aumento dell’attività di trapianto renale, sia regionale che extra-regionale (Tabella I) [6].

  2019   2020   2021  
  REGIONE FUORI REGIONE REGIONE FUORI REGIONE REGIONE FUORI REGIONE
ISMETT 15 27 16 32 14 15
OSPEDALE CIVICO DI PALERMO 14 22 12 30 5 11
POLICLINICO UNIVERSITARIO DI CATANIA 8 1 24 10 12 3
Tabella I: Attività di trapianto renale nei centri siciliani dal 2019 a luglio 2021

Anche il numero di trapianti combinati (fegato-rene, rene-pancreas e cuore-rene) è aumentato nel 2020 e fino a luglio 2021, in confronto al 2019 (Tabella II) [6].

  2019 2020 2021
  REGIONE FUORI REGIONE REGIONE FUORI REGIONE REGIONE FUORI REGIONE
FEGATO-RENE 1 1 4 1
RENE-PANCREAS 1 1 1
CUORE-RENE 1
Tabella II: Trapianti combinati eseguiti in Sicilia dal 2019 a luglio 2021

Questi dati sono il risultato, in parte, della sospensione dell’attività dei centri trapianto del Nord Italia che, per l’emergenza Covid, sono stati costretti a sospendere un’attività elettiva, non urgente e non salvavita come il trapianto di rene ed, in parte, del miglioramento dell’attività del procurement regionale. Sono stati, infatti, eseguiti 72 trapianti con reni provenienti da donatori extra-regione nel 2020 [6]. Inoltre, in Sicilia, l’attività di trapianto da vivente è stata sospesa solo nei mesi cruciali del secondo trimestre del 2020, per poi riprendere e mantenere degli adeguati standard di sicurezza, posticipando i trapianti di rene non pre-emptive.

 

La riorganizzazion della attività clinica e non solo

I centri trapianto hanno riorganizzato l’attività clinica, creando un sistema di protezione per i neo trapiantati in regime di degenza che prevedeva tamponi molecolari seriali per i pazienti ricoverati e per il personale coinvolto nella loro gestione. L’attività ambulatoriale di follow-up post-trapianto è stata modificata radicalmente, limitando le visite in presenza ai trapiantati recenti ed effettuando video consulti per i trapiantati di vecchia data, con il controllo degli esami ematochimici, del diario pressorio, del bilancio idrico ed un colloquio. Questa modalità ha consentito di limitare gli accessi non urgenti, ma ha evitato di abbandonare i pazienti in follow-up.

Inoltre, i trapiantati con infezione attiva sono stati presi in carico dai nefrologi dei centri trapianto, in collaborazione con il territorio e le unità di pneumologia, per la gestione delle complicanze e della terapia immunosoppressiva. I casi più gravi sono stati trasferiti presso l’unità operativa di terapia intensiva dell’ISMETT (Mediterranean Institute for Transplantation and Advanced Specialized Therapies) di Palermo, selezionata dalla regione Sicilia per la cura dei pazienti con necessità di ossigenazione extra-corporea a membrana (ECMO).

Il Centro Regionale Trapianti siciliano ha recentemente realizzato un’app in grado di fornire tutte le informazioni necessarie sulla donazione degli organi, sui trapianti e sulle liste d’attesa, e permettere l’invio del modulo per esprimere la propria volontà alla donazione. In piena pandemia, la regione siciliana ha puntato, dunque, a ridurre le distanze ed avvicinare i cittadini ai temi della donazione e del trapianto.

Inoltre, al fine di assicurare un nuovo impulso all’attività trapiantologica, l’assessorato regionale ha individuato forme di incentivo e remunerazione delle prestazioni correlate allo svolgimento di attività mediche di rianimazione nel settore della donazione degli organi.

Infine, con l’avvento della vaccinazione, pur consapevoli della ridotta risposta nei pazienti riceventi un trapianto d’organo, è stata data priorità ai trapiantati, con il coinvolgimento diretto di alcuni centri trapianto e del Centro Regionale Trapianti, per la somministrazione del vaccino nei pazienti e nei loro familiari.

 

Conclusioni

Da quanto detto, scaturiscono alcune importanti considerazioni. La Rete Regionale Trapianti Siciliana è riuscita a mantenere la propria attività, nonostante la crisi sanitaria senza precedenti conseguente alla pandemia. Ha continuato ad agire sotto il coordinamento del Centro Nazionale Trapianti, attenendosi alle linee guida dell’Istituto Superiore di Sanità, assicurando così l’attività trapiantologica con impegno encomiabile. Tuttavia, il perdurare della pandemia rischia di inginocchiare il sistema sanitario; da qui la necessità di ottenere alti tassi di vaccinazione della popolazione generale al fine di creare un’immunità di gregge per i nostri pazienti immunodepressi, meno responsivi alla vaccinazione diretta.

Pur essendoci stata una solerte e coesa risposta della comunità trapiantologica italiana per far fronte alla crisi sanitaria della pandemia, è necessario un costante sforzo nel trovare nuove e più raffinate strategie per continuare ad assicurare la disponibilità di un trapianto di rene ai nostri pazienti uremici.

 

Bibliografia

  1. Fauci AS, Clifford Lane H, Redfield RR. Covid 19. Navigating the uncharted. N Engl J Med 2020; 382:1268-9. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMe2002387
  2. D’Antiga L. Coronavirus and immunosuppressed patients. The facts during the third epidemic. Liver Transpl 2020; 26:832-4. https://doi.org/10.1002/lt.25756
  3. Gori A, Dondossola D, Antonelli B, et al. Coronavirus disease 2019 and transplantation: a view from the inside. Am J Transplant 2020; 20:1939-40. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajt.15853
  4. Centro Nazionale Trapianti. Nota avente oggetto: aggiornamento delle misure di prevenzione della trasmissione dell’infezione da nuovo Coronavirus (SARS-CoV 2) in Italia attraverso il trapianto di organi, tessuti e cellule. 28 Febbraio 2020 Prot. 482/CNT 2020.
  5. Aubert O, et al. COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide organ transplantation: a population-based study. Lancet Public Health 2021; 6(10):E709-19. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(21)00200-0
  6. Registro Siciliano di Dialisi e Trapianto. https://ridt.sinitaly.org/

The Good Samaritan Donor Experience

Abstract

The need for patients with a chronic kidney failure and on dialysis to embark on a kidney transplant process, poses the challenge to identify alternative and effective surgical strategies to overcome the insufficient number of deceased donors. The purpose is to allow the considerable number of patients on the kidney transplant waiting lists to receive appropriate treatment in time and under the most favorable clinical conditions. Living donation from a significant other is becoming increasingly widespread, on a national and international level. Furthermore, in the last years clinical experience is showing a special kind of kidney living donation: the Good Samaritan donation, i.e. when the donor has no emotional or blood bond with the recipient and decides to become a donor as a mere act of generosity, with no remuneration or reward in return. This article, after a brief analysis of the phenomenon through data obtained from recent international studies, shares the direct experience of the Clinical Psychology Service at IRCCS – ISMETT with regard to the psychological assessment and support throughout the clinical process of a Good Samaritan kidney donor. Sharing our experience and starting a discussion on this issue is the result of the need to define shared guidelines on the psychological approach to be used with potential Good Samaritan donors.

 

KEYWORDS: Kidney transplantation, living organ donation, good Samaritan donation, psychological assessment, altruism

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italian. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

Introduzione

Il trapianto di rene da donatore vivente è una tecnica chirurgica ormai diffusa in ambito trapiantologico che permette di far fronte alla condizione di insufficienza renale in maniera efficace, evitando di sottoporre il paziente ai rischi psicoclinici connessi a trattamenti emodialitici prolungati. 

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History of kidney transplantation in Poland

The first successful cadaveric kidney transplantation in Poland was performed in Medical University in Warsaw on January 26th 1966 by professor Jan Nielubowicz and his team (Waldemar Olszewski, Jerzy Szczerbań i Wojciech Rowiński). The recipient 18 year-old nursing school student had been prepared and taken care afterwards by nephrologists Professor Tadeusz Orłowski and his team. The operation went well and the patient was discharged home 3 weeks after transplantation. The patient died 6 months later with well functioning graft due to acute pancreatitis (1, 2). Soon after Professor Wiktor Bross in Wrocław performed the first in Poland kidney transplantation from living related donor on March 31st 1966. At the time when the first cadaveric kidney transplantation was performed in Poland the World Registry organized by professor Joseph Murray recorded only 600 such procedures in the world. It was a great success of polish medicine. This was followed by some attempts in other centres which however were abandoned very soon and the program until eighties was continued in Warsaw only. The surgical team had been preparing to start the clinical transplantation program for over two preceding years in Surgical Research Laboratory headed by prof. Jan Nielubowicz. Prof. Wojciech Rowiński learned transplantation medicine as research fellow in Peter bent Brigham Hospital in Boston in 1965. 1967 laboratory In Warsaw Transplant Centre produced anti-dog, anti-rat, anti-human anti-lymphocytic sera (ALS) and purified globulins in horses, goats, pigs and rabbits. Evaluation of effect of administration of ALS on renal graft survival in dogs was preformed. The team one of the first in the world prepared rabbit-anti-thymocyte serum used in transplant patients (3, 4).
Up to 1976 some 80 cadaver (10-12 per year) and several living related donor kidney transplantations were performed. Since 1977 the number of kidney transplantations in Poland slowly increased to 40-46 per year (5, 6). The legal limitations were not helpful. Cadaveric kidneys procurement was considered as an element of post-mortem examinations. The diagnosis of brain death was well known but not legally permissible. Harvesting of the kidneys was done after cardiac arrest which resulted of high rate of ischemic injury of the organ. At early eighties revival of transplantation programs in other Medical School hospitals: Wrocław, Katowice, Gdańsk, Kraków, Szczecin was started. In Warsaw in addition to Department of Vascular Surgery and Transplantlogy (headed by prof. Nielubowicz, thereafter by prof. Jacek Szmidt) two other transplant centres were set up; Department of General and Transplantation Surgery (1983 headed by prof. Wojciech Rowiński) and Children’s Memorial Health Institute where the first cadaveric kidney transplantation was performed in 1984 by prof. Wojciech Kamiński and prof. Czesław Szymkiewicz. In 1985 the first kidney transplantation from living donor was done. The forth transplant centre in Warsaw was established in Hospital of Internal Affairs in 1990 headed by prof. Marek Durlik (7, 8).
Professor Tadeusz Orłowski created in 1975 the Transplantation Institute in Warsaw Medical University which consisted of two medical departments and department of experimental immunology with the tissue typing laboratory. The pretransplant assessment and the posttransplantation care including immunological monitoring were done in Institute. Both surgical transplant units closely cooperated with Institute. For several years Transplantation Institute was the leading transplant centre in Poland. In 1987 the new protocol originally developed in the Transplantation Institute showed that addition of promethazine to standard immunosuppression (befroe CsA era) resulted in better graft survival (9).
Regarding legal regulations of organ retrieval Transplant Act on Cells, Tissues and Organ Retrieval and Transplantation was issued by Parliament and signed by President in 1995. It was updated in 2005. The act approved presumed consent for organ retrieval, regulateed living donor organ donation, penalized commerce in organ transplantation. In 1993 National Transplantation Council was established by Ministry of Health, main tasks of this advisory body were to elaboration of strategy for development of tissue and organ transplantation, popularisation of the idea of organ donation and transplantation among general public, education of medical students and staff in organ donation and transplantation, active participation in creating legal regulations concerning organ and tissue transplantation. POLTRANSPLANT- Polish Organ Procurement and Sharing Organization was established in 1996 ( headed by prof. Janusz Wałaszewski), National Specialist in the Field of Clinical Transplantation (prof. Wojciech Rowiński) as executive body was appointed in 1996 (10, 11). In 1993 the Polish Transplantation Society was established, the first President was elected prof. Mieczysław Lao head of the Transplantation Institute in Warsaw.
In the early 80-ties kidney transplantation programs were started in a number of Medical School hospitals across the country.
In Wroclaw renewal of transplant program was started in 1983 by the surgeon prof. Klemens Skóra and nephrologist prof. Zenon Szewczyk. Since 1989 one hundred cadaveric kidney transplants were performed. In 1988 second transplant centre in Voivodship Hospital was created headed by prof. Wojciech Witkiewicz (12).
The first two kidney transplantations from living related donors in Upper Silesia region were performed in 1966 (September, November) by doctor Józef Gasiński in hospital in Bytom in cooperation with nephrologist prof. Zbylut Twardowski. Both recipients died due to sepsis after 28 and 136 days respectively. Renewal of transplant program was started in Department of General Surgery in Medical University in Katowice. In 1983 prof. Roman Kurzbauer performer 4 cadaveric kidney transplants, all of them failed due to infectious complications. Under new head of Department of General Surgery prof. Stanisława Kuśmierskiego with cooperation with Nephrology Department headed by prof. Franciszek Kokot in 1984-1990 more than 200 kidney transplantation were performed (12).
In Krakow 9 kidney transplantations (one from living donor) were performed by doctor Romuald Drop, first in march 1975. The responsible nephrologist was prof. Zygmunt Hanicki. In 1992 renewal of transplant program was reported by prof. Tadeusz Popiela and doctor Jerzy Bucki in cooperation with nephrologist prof. Władysław Sułowicz (12).
In Gdańsk the first kidney transplantation in Medical University was done on 31st August 1980 by prof. Wojciech Gacyk and prof. Jerzy Dybicki in cooperation with Department of Nephrology headed by Andrzej Manitius thereafter by prof. Bolesław Rutkowski (12).
In Szczecin the first kidney transplantation was performed in 1980 in II Department of Surgery in medical University by prof. Stansisław Zieliński. The second transplant centre in Szczecin was established in 1983 in Voivodship Hospital by doctor Marek Umiński, prof. Marek Ostrowski and doctor Janusz Lapis (12).
In the Białystok Medical University the first kidney transplantation was performed in 1989 by prof. Stanisław Głowiński with help of prof Jacek Szmidt from Warsaw in cooperation with Department of Nephrology headed by prof. Michał Myśliwiec (12).
In Poznan in Medical University the first kidney transplantation was performed in 1985 in Department of General Surgery and Gastroenterology by prof. Adam Deja in cooperation with prof. Maciej Krzymański and prof. Andrzej Oko from the Department of Nephrology. The second transplant centre was created in Poznań in 1994 in Voivodship Hospital by prof. Zbigniew Włodarczyk, Konstanty Tukałło, Adam Deja and Maciej Głyda (12).
In Łódź two transplant centres started their activity in 1996, first inthe Medical University in Department of Surgery heade by prof. Janusz Wasiak and prof. Janusz Strzelczyk in cooperation with prof. Witold Chrzanowski from Department of Nephrology, second in Pirogow Voivodship Hospital headed by prof. Józef Matych (12).
In Lublin transplant program was started in 1994 inthe Medical University by prof. M.Jesipowicz, prof. S.Stettner, and prof. S.Rudzki in cooperation with prof. Andrzej Książek, head of the Department of Nephrology (12).
In Bydgoszcz prof. Zbigniew Włodarczyk created new transplant centre in 2000 year.
The youngest transplant centre was established in Olsztyn in 2010 by prof. Wojciech Rowiński and doctor Andrzej Kobryń (12).
During the 51 years since first renal transplantation until December 31st 2016 the total number of 22,658 kidney from deceased donor and 766 kidney from living donor transplantations were performed in Poland. Currently there are 21 kidney transplant centres performing 1000 transplants per year in Poland (13).

References:

  1. Orlowski T, Nielubowicz J, Gradowska L, Rowiński W, Klopotowska E. (1966) Function of a transplanted kidney. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 37(1):47-54. Polish. PubMed PMID: 5330481
  2. Nielubowicz J, Orlowski T, Rowiński W, Szczerbań J, Szostek M, Kamiński B, Olszewski W, Ladygin J, Lao M, Gradowska L. (1966) Transplantation of kidney from cadaver. Pol Przegl Chir. 38(10):1030-4. Polish. PubMed PMID: 5341716
  3. Rowiński W, Szmidt J, Rosnowska M, Baraniewski H, Grupińska E, Tupalska B, Brühl A, Krawczyński K, Madaliński K, Nowoslawski A. (1970) Effect of long-term administration of horse antilymphocyte serum to healthy dogs. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 45(2):281-9. Polish. PubMed PMID: 5471505
  4. Rowiński W, Szmidt J, Brühl A, Dziedziul S, Tupalska B, Baraniewski H, Grupińska E, Opertowski A, Nielubowicz J. (1970) Production and titration of antilymphocyte serum for use in dogs. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 45(2):275-80. Polish. PubMed PMID: 4919365
  5. Nielubowicz J, Orlowski T, Wesolowski S, Falda Z, Gradowska L, Rowińska D, Rowiński W, Skośkiewicz M, Szostek M, Filipowicz Z, Glyda J, Goliszek Z, Jedrzejewski R, Kardasiewicz W, Klepacka J, Klopotowska E, Kossowska B, Koziak H, Krzywicka E, Lao M, Ladygin J, Marzinek B, Miller J, Michalowicz B, Machowski Z, Olszewski K. (1970) Results of kidney transplantation in the Warsaw center. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 45(2):175-8. Polish. PubMed PMID: 4919357
  6. Rowiński W. (1970) Results of kidney transplantation in Poland. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 45(2):267-73. Polish. PubMed PMID: 4919364
  7. Rowiński W. (1996) History of organ transplantation in Warsaw. A personal perspective. Ann Transplant. 1(1):5-8. PubMed PMID: 9869929
  8. Lao M, Gradowska L, Stryjecka-Rowińska D, Szmidt J, Rowiński W, Wałaszewski J. (1997) Kidney transplantation in Warsaw and Poland in the years 1966-1996. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 98(10):294-303. Polish. PubMed PMID: 9557082
  9. Orłowski T, Gaciong Z, Paczek L. Promethazine.(1987) results of triple-drug immunosuppression for kidney transplantation. Transplant Proc. 1987 Feb;19(1 Pt 3):2124-5. PubMed PMID: 3079074
  10. Rowiński W, Lao M, Wałaszewski J, Lisik W. (1996) Social, legal and medical limitations of organ transplantation in Poland. Ann Transplant. 1(3):36-40. PubMed PMID: 9869918
  11. Rowiński WA, Wałaszewski JE. (1996) Organizational aspects of organ procurement. Ann Transplant. 1(4):61-4. PubMed PMID: 9869909
  12. Book: Homo Homini, Dzieje wybranych ośrodków transplantologicznych w Polsce, 2012, Publicat.
  13. poltransplant.org.pl

English:
The first successful cadaveric kidney transplantation in Poland was performed in Medical University in Warsaw on January 26th 1966 by professor Jan Nielubowicz and his team (Waldemar Olszewski, Jerzy Szczerbań i Wojciech Rowiński). The recipient 18 year-old nursing school student had been prepared and taken care afterwards by nephrologists Professor Tadeusz Orłowski and his team. The operation went well and the patient was discharged home 3 weeks after transplantation. The patient died 6 months later with well functioning graft due to acute pancreatitis (1, 2). Soon after Professor Wiktor Bross in Wrocław performed the first in Poland kidney transplantation from living related donor on March 31st 1966. At the time when the first cadaveric kidney transplantation was performed in Poland the World Registry organized by professor Joseph Murray recorded only 600 such procedures in the world. It was a great success of polish medicine. This was followed by some attempts in other centres which however were abandoned very soon and the program until eighties was continued in Warsaw only. The surgical team had been preparing to start the clinical transplantation program for over two preceding years in Surgical Research Laboratory headed by prof. Jan Nielubowicz. Prof. Wojciech Rowiński learned transplantation medicine as research fellow in Peter bent Brigham Hospital in Boston in 1965. 1967 laboratory In Warsaw Transplant Centre produced anti-dog, anti-rat, anti-human anti-lymphocytic sera (ALS) and purified globulins in horses, goats, pigs and rabbits. Evaluation of effect of administration of ALS on renal graft survival in dogs was preformed. The team one of the first in the world prepared rabbit-anti-thymocyte serum used in transplant patients (3, 4).
Up to 1976 some 80 cadaver (10-12 per year) and several living related donor kidney transplantations were performed. Since 1977 the number of kidney transplantations in Poland slowly increased to 40-46 per year (5, 6). The legal limitations were not helpful. Cadaveric kidneys procurement was considered as an element of post-mortem examinations. The diagnosis of brain death was well known but not legally permissible. Harvesting of the kidneys was done after cardiac arrest which resulted of high rate of ischemic injury of the organ. At early eighties revival of transplantation programs in other Medical School hospitals: Wrocław, Katowice, Gdańsk, Kraków, Szczecin was started. In Warsaw in addition to Department of Vascular Surgery and Transplantlogy (headed by prof. Nielubowicz, thereafter by prof. Jacek Szmidt) two other transplant centres were set up; Department of General and Transplantation Surgery (1983 headed by prof. Wojciech Rowiński) and Children’s Memorial Health Institute where the first cadaveric kidney transplantation was performed in 1984 by prof. Wojciech Kamiński and prof. Czesław Szymkiewicz. In 1985 the first kidney transplantation from living donor was done. The forth transplant centre in Warsaw was established in Hospital of Internal Affairs in 1990 headed by prof. Marek Durlik (7, 8).
Professor Tadeusz Orłowski created in 1975 the Transplantation Institute in Warsaw Medical University which consisted of two medical departments and department of experimental immunology with the tissue typing laboratory. The pretransplant assessment and the posttransplantation care including immunological monitoring were done in Institute. Both surgical transplant units closely cooperated with Institute. For several years Transplantation Institute was the leading transplant centre in Poland. In 1987 the new protocol originally developed in the Transplantation Institute showed that addition of promethazine to standard immunosuppression (befroe CsA era) resulted in better graft survival (9).
Regarding legal regulations of organ retrieval Transplant Act on Cells, Tissues and Organ Retrieval and Transplantation was issued by Parliament and signed by President in 1995. It was updated in 2005. The act approved presumed consent for organ retrieval, regulateed living donor organ donation, penalized commerce in organ transplantation. In 1993 National Transplantation Council was established by Ministry of Health, main tasks of this advisory body were to elaboration of strategy for development of tissue and organ transplantation, popularisation of the idea of organ donation and transplantation among general public, education of medical students and staff in organ donation and transplantation, active participation in creating legal regulations concerning organ and tissue transplantation. POLTRANSPLANT- Polish Organ Procurement and Sharing Organization was established in 1996 ( headed by prof. Janusz Wałaszewski), National Specialist in the Field of Clinical Transplantation (prof. Wojciech Rowiński) as executive body was appointed in 1996 (10, 11). In 1993 the Polish Transplantation Society was established, the first President was elected prof. Mieczysław Lao head of the Transplantation Institute in Warsaw.
In the early 80-ties kidney transplantation programs were started in a number of Medical School hospitals across the country.
In Wroclaw renewal of transplant program was started in 1983 by the surgeon prof. Klemens Skóra and nephrologist prof. Zenon Szewczyk. Since 1989 one hundred cadaveric kidney transplants were performed. In 1988 second transplant centre in Voivodship Hospital was created headed by prof. Wojciech Witkiewicz (12).
The first two kidney transplantations from living related donors in Upper Silesia region were performed in 1966 (September, November) by doctor Józef Gasiński in hospital in Bytom in cooperation with nephrologist prof. Zbylut Twardowski. Both recipients died due to sepsis after 28 and 136 days respectively. Renewal of transplant program was started in Department of General Surgery in Medical University in Katowice. In 1983 prof. Roman Kurzbauer performer 4 cadaveric kidney transplants, all of them failed due to infectious complications. Under new head of Department of General Surgery prof. Stanisława Kuśmierskiego with cooperation with Nephrology Department headed by prof. Franciszek Kokot in 1984-1990 more than 200 kidney transplantation were performed (12).
In Krakow 9 kidney transplantations (one from living donor) were performed by doctor Romuald Drop, first in march 1975. The responsible nephrologist was prof. Zygmunt Hanicki. In 1992 renewal of transplant program was reported by prof. Tadeusz Popiela and doctor Jerzy Bucki in cooperation with nephrologist prof. Władysław Sułowicz (12).
In Gdańsk the first kidney transplantation in Medical University was done on 31st August 1980 by prof. Wojciech Gacyk and prof. Jerzy Dybicki in cooperation with Department of Nephrology headed by Andrzej Manitius thereafter by prof. Bolesław Rutkowski (12).
In Szczecin the first kidney transplantation was performed in 1980 in II Department of Surgery in medical University by prof. Stansisław Zieliński. The second transplant centre in Szczecin was established in 1983 in Voivodship Hospital by doctor Marek Umiński, prof. Marek Ostrowski and doctor Janusz Lapis (12).
In the Białystok Medical University the first kidney transplantation was performed in 1989 by prof. Stanisław Głowiński with help of prof Jacek Szmidt from Warsaw in cooperation with Department of Nephrology headed by prof. Michał Myśliwiec (12).
In Poznan in Medical University the first kidney transplantation was performed in 1985 in Department of General Surgery and Gastroenterology by prof. Adam Deja in cooperation with prof. Maciej Krzymański and prof. Andrzej Oko from the Department of Nephrology. The second transplant centre was created in Poznań in 1994 in Voivodship Hospital by prof. Zbigniew Włodarczyk, Konstanty Tukałło, Adam Deja and Maciej Głyda (12).
In Łódź two transplant centres started their activity in 1996, first inthe Medical University in Department of Surgery heade by prof. Janusz Wasiak and prof. Janusz Strzelczyk in cooperation with prof. Witold Chrzanowski from Department of Nephrology, second in Pirogow Voivodship Hospital headed by prof. Józef Matych (12).
In Lublin transplant program was started in 1994 inthe Medical University by prof. M.Jesipowicz, prof. S.Stettner, and prof. S.Rudzki in cooperation with prof. Andrzej Książek, head of the Department of Nephrology (12).
In Bydgoszcz prof. Zbigniew Włodarczyk created new transplant centre in 2000 year.
The youngest transplant centre was established in Olsztyn in 2010 by prof. Wojciech Rowiński and doctor Andrzej Kobryń (12).
During the 51 years since first renal transplantation until December 31st 2016 the total number of 22,658 kidney from deceased donor and 766 kidney from living donor transplantations were performed in Poland. Currently there are 21 kidney transplant centres performing 1000 transplants per year in Poland (13).

References:

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  9. Orłowski T, Gaciong Z, Paczek L. Promethazine.(1987) results of triple-drug immunosuppression for kidney transplantation. Transplant Proc. 1987 Feb;19(1 Pt 3):2124-5. PubMed PMID: 3079074
  10. Rowiński W, Lao M, Wałaszewski J, Lisik W. (1996) Social, legal and medical limitations of organ transplantation in Poland. Ann Transplant. 1(3):36-40. PubMed PMID: 9869918
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  12. Book: Homo Homini, Dzieje wybranych ośrodków transplantologicznych w Polsce, 2012, Publicat.
  13. poltransplant.org.pl