Hungary’s First Heart Transplant Operation Was Performed 25 Years Ago
Tamás Székely 2017.01.04.
The 25th anniversary of the first heart transplant operation was marked in Budapest. Béla Merkely, vice rector of Budapest’s Semmelweis Medical University, said in his address that the anniversary “gives hope to patients waiting for a new heart and ensures recognition to people working to produce similar achievements”.
Former patient Sándor Schwartz (left), cardiac surgeon Zoltán Szabó and state secretary László Palkovics (photo: Zsolt Szigetváry – MTI)
The first heart transplant in Hungary was performed on January 3, 1992, at Semmelweis University, by cardiac surgeon Zoltán Szabó and his team. The patient, Sándor Schwartz, was 24 years old at the time, and has used the same organ ever since. Two weeks after the first operation, another patient, Antal Koncz, got a new heart. As he underwent another transplant three years ago, he is living with his third heart today. Since 1992, the Heart and Vascular Centre of Semmelweis University has done 412 heart transplants, about 90% of all such operations in Hungary. Merkely noted that Hungary had joined Eurotransplant, an international organisation responsible for coordinating organ transplants in its member countries, in 2013. Last year the centre performed 51 heart transplants, the second highest figure in Europe, which put the institution among the top ten on a global scale, he said.
The commemoration was addressed by state secretary for education László Palkovics, who noted the importance of integrating training and treatment. He said that the government was planning to spend a total 150 billion forints (EUR 485m) on the reform of medical education in Hungary.