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At the beginning of the XX-th century, Dr Florescu made the first attempts of organs transplantation in Romania. While working in the experimental surgery laboratory of the University of Medicine Bucharest, he made several experiments of kidney transplantation. The operations weren’t successfully and dr. Florescu considered that this happened because of a bad implantation angle of the blood vessels ( the kidneys became necrotics), so he tried different places of the body for the implantation, hoping he will find the right angle. This didn’t happen and the experiences were abandoned.

In 1958 Prof. Dr Agrippa Ionescu realized the first skin transplantation in an organized hospital environment, and in 1962 the first cornea transplantation was performed. In the second half of the past century, Sergiu Duca in Cluj-Napoca, Vladimir Fluture in Timisoara and Dumitru Popescu-Falticeanu with Emil Papahagi form the Emergency Hospital Floreasca Bucuresti made experimental liver transplantation.

The first functional human solid organ transplant was the one made by Profesor Eugeniu Proca in February 1980 at Fundeni Hospital, with kidney from living donor (recipient’s mother). This transplant was followed in a short time by a renal transplant from a brain dead donor, made in Timişoara by a team leaded by Prof. Dr. Petru Dragan. Until December 1989 the only transplants performed in Romania were a small number of kidney transplants.

In 1992 started the first modern program of kidney transplantation in Romania, done by Prof. Dr. Mihai Lucan at the Clinic of Urology of the County Hospital Cluj-Napoca ( who became Clinical Institute of Urology and Renal Transplantation Cluj-Napoca).

From 1995 the efforts to establish a national transplant network were intensified, organized in several steps:
  • The protocol of diagnosis and declaration of the brain death was established (Prof. Dr. Dan Tulbure)
  • The conditions for the removal of the organs from the deceased donor were established (Prof. Dr. Vladimir Belis)
  • Mass-media campaign to explain the brain death and to promote organ and tissue donation
  • The first multiorgan harvestings (1997); in february was removed a kidney from a brain deth donor at the Clinic of General Surgery - Fundeni Hospital (surgery team Irinel Popescu, Ioanel Sinescu, Vladislav Braşoveanu, Radu Soare, Dan Tulbure), and in June a removal of liver and kidney at Floreasca Emergency Hospital (surgery team coordinated by Prof. Dr. Irinel Popescu, and anesthezic team coordinated by Dr. Ioana Grintescu). An important role had the County Hospital Targu-Mureº, where Prof. Dr. Radu Deac and Dr. Pia Moldovan maintained in physiological conditions several brain death donors, and their families agreed the organ donation.
  • The training and specialization of the first transplant coordinators, the fist one was Dr. Victor Zota, the actual Director of The National Transplant Agency. The rules for the allocation of organs at national level were established, and also the Are established rules to repartizate the organs at national level and of the exchange of organs with other european countries , based on signed cooperation agreements.
  • In 1997 was founded the professional association “ROMTRANSPLANT” whitch will have important scientific and organizational roles in the development of the Romanian transplant system. From this point of vue, the five national congresses organized by Romtransplant, with international participation (1998 - Cluj-Napoca – president Prof. Dr. Mihai Lucan, 2000- Bucharest - president Prof. Dr. Irinel Popescu, 2002- Targu-Mureş - president Prof. Dr. Radu Deac, 2004- Constanţa - Eforie Nord - president Prof. Dr. Vasile Sârbu and 2006 Cluj-Napoca - president Prof. Dr. Mihai Lucan) are very important step.
An important moment was the speech of His Holiness Teoctist – Patriarch of the Romanian Ortodox Church who, at the opening ceremony of the Second Romtransplant Congress in 2000 – Intercontinental Hotel expressed the approval of the Romanian Ortodox Church for the organ and tissue removal from brain dead donors, sustaining the organ donation as a normal attitude for Christians.

The president of Romtransplant is, from 1997 until now, Prof. Dr. Irinel Popescu, and the general secretary is Prof. Dr. Mihai Voiculescu. În 1997 was performed the first liver transplantation by Prof. Dr. Irinel Popescu at Fundeni Hospital, which wasn’t followed by the survival of the pacient. From 1997, the leader of the kidney transplant program from Fundeni Hospital is Prof. Dr. Ioanel Sinescu, after the retirement of Prof. Eugeniu Proca. In 1999 was performed the first heart transplant by Dr. Serban Brãdisteanu at the Clinical Emergency Hospital Floreasca, followed after a short time by the second one performed by Prof. Dr. Radu Deac at the Cardiac Surgery Center from the County Hospital Targu-Mures.

Also from 1999 Romania has a representative person in the Transplant Committee of the European Council (Prof. Dr. Irinel Popescu), whitch allows the immediate adoption of the european foresights concerning the transplantation, and will lead to the adoption in 2006 of a new transplant law at European standards.

In April 2000 the first liver transplant with the survival of the pacient was performed by Prof. Dr. Irinel Popescu at Fundeni Hospital, and in Octomber 2000, the same team performed the first liver transplant from living donor (transplant from mother to daughter). In 2001 Prof. Dr. Margit Serban, performed in Universitary Center of Timisoara the first bone marrow transplant followed, in a short while, by other such transplants performed by the team of Fundeni Hospital (Prof. Dr. Dan Colita, Prof. Dr. Constantin Arion). In 2003 the team of the County Hospital Constanta (Prof. Dr. Vasile Sârbu, Dr. Simona Dima) performed the first autotransplant of pancreas islets. In 2004 at the Clinical Institute of Urology and Renal Transplantation Cluj-Napoca Prof. Dr. Mihai Lucan performed the first combined transplant of kidney and pancreas, and in 2005 at The Clinical Institute Fundeni (Prof. Dr. Irinel Popescu, Dr, Simona Dima) was done the first allotransplant of pancreas islets from a pacient with cirrhosis and diabetes, who received a transplant of liver and pancreas islets. The first stem cells transplants were performed for the first time in 2004 for a myocardic disease (Prof. Dr. Stefan Drãgulescu, Prof. Dr. Virgil Pãunescu – The Institute of Cardiology Timisoara), and in 2005 for a liver disease (Prof. Dr. Irinel Popescu, Dr. Simona Dima - Clinical Institute Fundeni).

The first modern transplantlaw in Romania was addopted in 1998 - Law no. 2/1998 “concerning the removal and transplant of human tissues and organs”, with all the conditions for the removal and the transplantation of the human tissues and organs. It was replaced by the Title VI “ The removal and the transplant of human organs, tissues and cells for therapeutical propose” of the Law no. 95/2006 “ concerning the reform in the health field ”. This title contains a detailed chapter concerning the tissues and cells transplantation. The correspondance with the european legislation is the result of the presence of Romania (Prof. Dr. Irinel Popescu) in the Committee of Transplant of Organs and Tissues of The European Council.

n 2004 was adopted the Law no. 588, for the establishment of the National Transplant Agency, and Dr. Victor Zota is named Executive Director of this Agency, whois has an official residence and a personal diagram. Prof. Dr. Irinel Popescu becomes the president of the Scientific Council of the Agency. The Scientific Council has 33 members, important personalities of the Romanian medicine. These members were officially named by the Minister’s of Health Order no.183/2005, completed by the Minister’s of Health Order no.814/2005 .

In April 2005 Romania started to celebrate the National Transplant Day, following the european model. The new transplant law was addopted in 2006 - Title VI from Law no. 95/2006, which was updated and completed, especially in the field of the donation and transplantation of human tissues and cellls.

As a result of the transplant activity, in Romania were performed until year 2007 more than 1000 kidney transplants (in the Universitary Centers Bucuharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Iasi, Constanta and Oradea), more than 100 liver transplants in the Clinical Institute Fundeni, more than 50 bone marrow transplants, more than 30 heart transplants,etc.

In 2000, the results of the transplant activity in Romania were officilly recognized at national level in 2000, when the President of Romania Emil Constantinescu offered high distinctions of Romania to: Prof. Dr. Eugen Proca, Prof. Dr. Irinel Popescu, Dr. Serban Bradisteanu, Prof. Dr. Radu Deac, Prof. Dr. Mihai Lucan, Prof. Dr. Ioanel Sinescu, Prof. Dr. Dan Tulbure, Prof. Dr. Petru Dragan si Prof. Dr. Vladimir Belis.
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