ASTANA – “Transplantology in Kazakhstan: From the Present to the Future,” an international scientific and practical conference, was held Aug. 8-9 at the National Research Cardiac Centre (NRCSC) here. The meetings included the fundamentals of transplant coordination and were dedicated to organ donation and transplantation.
According to NRCSC, 163 transplants of donor organs were made in Kazakhstan in 2013, with an additional 116 transplants of various organs completed to date this year.
Advanced transplantation techniques, including technology for implanting artificial circulatory support devices with various modifications, have been successfully implemented at the level of world standards, not only in major research centres in the country, but also in regional hospitals. A unique device called Transmedics is used for transporting donor hearts.
To facilitate the transport time, the Ministry of Internal Affairs jointly with the Civil Aviation Committee has provided its sanitary aviation. The National Coordination Centre for organ transplantation, with representatives in all regions, was established.
“The whole crew, a team of usually up to 80 people, flies over to the needed destination and the transplant coordinator manages the entire process,” explained First Deputy Chairman of NRCSC Makhabbat Bekbossynova. “Not only medics are involved in such operations, but also the [newly-restructured] Ministry of Internal Affairs and the traffic police escort. You know that it is very important when every minute, every hour counts.”
In accordance with international practice, great importance is attached to arranging transplant service coordination. Regional transplant coordinators were introduced in every region of Kazakhstan. The coordinators are responsible for organising the work to further develop organ donation and transplantation, and above all, to detect patients with brain death in a timely manner and inform the transplant centres.
“I cannot speak for everyone, but I can talk about heart surgery, especially here in this institution, as it is compared to some of the best cardiac institutions in the world,” said Jan Pirk, a professor at Prague Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine who assisted in 2012 during the first heart transplantation surgery in Kazakhstan. “A new artificial heart model also began here as a clinical trial. The new model is implemented only in five other clinics around the world and one of them is here.”
According to doctors, one donor can save seven lives. The misunderstanding surrounding the idea of organ donation and transplantation in Kazakhstan has led to a 69-percent death rate of patients whose lives could be saved.
“With the new heart I think I will continue to live and be happy. I will work as always, like all other citizens of Kazakhstan. I think I was cured. I am now spreading the idea of organ transplantation, that is to make people understand the need for transplantation,” noted heart recipient Khaidar Kairbekov.
Among other guest speakers were cardio surgeons from Japan, South Korea, Czech Republic, Croatia, Russia and Belarus, who also held master classes at NRCSC and state hospital No.6. Conference participants were not only professionals in the field of organ and tissue transplantation but also representatives of various government agencies and non-governmental and religious organisations, as well as lawyers, psychologists and organ transplantation recipients.
The Kazakh government fully finances the costs of high-tech organ transplants and subsequent rehabilitation recipients.