Nordic Cooperation

Nordic Heart and Lung Transplant Associations have held annual meetings since 1995 to exchange experiences and discuss common issues. The latest meeting was organised in Helsinki in September 2008. During the event, the Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Finnish participants and Chairman of EHLTF Terry Mangan who also attended the meeting had the chance to get an overview of the current state of transplant operations in Finland. Ari Harjula, Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Helsinki and one of the pioneers of Finnish transplantation activities, gave a presentation on the history and present-day work of the Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH) as well as the numbers and results of heart and lung transplantations in Finland. Professor Harjula also talked about some possible future directions, including the significance of stem cell research for transplantation activities. The Nordic guests visited the research centre Biomedicum and the Clinical Research Institute HUCH. Seppo Pakkala, MD, managing director of the Clinical Research Institute HUCH, told the guests about the research conducted in the institute as well as its operating policies and considerable achievements in various fields of medical research. In Friday’s meeting the participants discussed the current situation in each country and the activities of the local associations. Saturday’s programme consisted of a ferry trip to Tallinn, Estonia, and a presentation on the current state of the Estonian health care system and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, given by Jaan Eha, Senior Surgeon of the Heart Clinic of Tartu University Hospital. Estonia does not yet have a heart or lung transplantation programme, but all traditional forms of therapy are in use. Estonia’s public health care system is functioning and efficient despite the restricted resources with which it has to operate, due to the country’s financial status. Dr. Eha mentioned in his presentation that the health care systems of the other two Baltic states, Latvia and Lithuania, are facing similar challenges. His talk inspired a lively debate. The Nordic meeting of 2009 will be hosted by Norway. Ilkka Vass Secretary General Finnish Heart and Lung Transplant Association

The Nordic Cooperation meeting of 2009

Persons from left are: Edith Pedersen, Denmark; Ilkka Vass, Finland; Terry Mangan EHLTF Chairman, Ireland; Markku Suominen, Finland; Ingrid Ricknell, Sweden; Jan Lauren, Finland; Lise Korbo, Denmark; Pelle Christiansen, Denmark; Seppo Lösönen, Finland; (Photo: Marit Skatved, Norway)

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