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Karolinska University Hospital is helping Latvia to get started with liver transplantations

Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge is assisting a university hospital in the capital city of Riga, Latvia, in establishing a liver transplantation program. They currently have kidney transplantation but lack practical experience in liver and pancreatic transplantation. The goal is to be able to start liver transplantations by next year.
Carl Jorns and Gabriel Dumitrescu
Carl Jorns and Gabriel Dumitrescu. Photo: Marcus Hagström

The collaboration is part of the European Commission's educational project TEODOR*. The educational project covers the entire care chain, from donor and logistics to the transplantation itself and post-care. Karolinska's contribution has been to provide education and share expertise and experience in transplantation. Barcelona's university hospital is another partner in the project, focusing on organ donation.

"Latvia lacks the knowledge and competence needed. Due to the low number of liver transplantations performed annually, they also have limited opportunities to acquire knowledge and experience to enhance their competence," says Carl Jorns, Transplant Surgeon and responsible for liver transplantations at Karolinska.

The training is conducted through an online course and supplementary workshops in Riga. Part of the training program takes place at Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge.

"Theory is important, but it's also crucial to participate in an actual liver transplantation. Therefore, the person who will be responsible for Riga's transplantation program will spend two weeks with us here at Karolinska to learn as much as possible," says Carl Jorns.

Transplantations require a large team from various departments. In addition to the transplant surgeon, Riga is also sending two anesthesiologists to Karolinska.

"Anesthesia during a liver transplantation is one of the most complex procedures we perform, so there is a lot they need to learn. The most valuable learning experience we can provide them is to allow them to participate and learn during an actual transplantation," says Gabriel Dumitrescu, Anesthesia Lead for transplantations.

The educational project will conclude in week 17 when both the donation and transplantation components come together for an intensive week of lectures, medical conferences, and workshops.


*TEODOR is the European Commission's project to increase knowledge and competence in organ donation and transplantation in Latvia, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic. The project is led by Pauls StradiƆš Clinical University Hospital in Riga."

Text: Marcus Hagström

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