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M Wójcicki, J Lubikowski, M Czupryńska, K Jarosz, T Sluzar, S Zeair, T Surudo, J Andrzejewska, M Syczewska, J Butkiewicz, J Mysliwiec, M Umiński, Z Czajkowski, P Milkiewicz
Ann Transplant 2003; 8(4): 50-56
New liver transplant programs have usually been associated with a significant learning curve. This learning curve, however, can be minimized or avoided if certain conditions are met. In this paper we describe the establishment of a new liver transplant program in Szczecin, Poland and present its early results. Four members of the team underwent training in clinical liver transplantation in major centers in Europe. Transplant protocols were then adopted, all the necessary facilities set up, and multidisciplinary team created. Between February 2002 and August 2003, 22 adultorthotopic liver transplantations (OLT) were performed in 21 patients (13 male; mean age 46.3 years; range 33-62), including 1 retransplant forearly hepatic artery thrombosis. Eighteen (86 %) patients are alive between 4 and 22 (median 11) months after OLT. Seventeen patients havenormal liver function and 14 of them have resumed full life activity. Three patients died: one of bacterial peritonitis (day 6), one of chronic rejectionwith allograft failure (month 4) and one following massive stroke (month 10). Surgical complications occurred in 7 patients (33 %). We believethat proper training of vital team members at established transplant centers with good results, availability of adequate equipment and all thefacilities required with strict adherence to transplant protocols are all paramount for a successful start of a liver transplant program.