Therapeutic transplantation of organs and tissues is equally available to all citizens of the Republic of Slovenia (RS) who need this form of treatment and are registered on the waiting list maintained by the national transplantation network.
The network consists of 11 donor hospitals, including 9 general hospitals and 2 university medical centres, a transplant centre run within the University Medical Centre (UMC) Ljubljana, a tissue typing centre, and the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for the Transplantation of Organs and Tissues, Slovenia Transplant (ST).
The setting up of the national transplantation network has enhanced the cooperation among hospitals, thus making organ procurement all over Slovenia possible.
Donor centres are hospitals with an appropriately equipped intensive care unit (ICU) and operating theatre, and qualified personnel, admitting patients with serious brain injuries and lesions. Each donor centre has a hospital transplant coordinator on its staff.
The tasks of a donor centre include identifying potential deceased donors, performing clinical tests for the diagnosis of brain death, assessing the suitability of organs and tissues for removal and transplantation, conducting family interviews for organ and tissue donation consent, maintaining function of a deceased donor’s organs until and during removal, and cooperating with the national organ and tissue procurement team in organ and tissue removal.
There is one centre for organ transplantation in Slovenia, that is the University Medical Centre (UMC) Ljubljana. The tasks of the transplant centre include the preparation of recipients for placement on the waiting list, transplantation of organs and haematopoietic stem cells, and follow-up of patients after the transplant procedure.
Cornea transplants are performed in two centres, at the Department of Ophthalmology of the UMC Ljubljana, and the Department of Ophthalmology of the UMC Maribor.
The Tissue Typing Laboratory, a unit of the Blood Transfusion Centre of Slovenia, operates round the clock daily throughout the year. Within the programme of deceased donor organ and tissue transplantation, it performs human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing of patients on the recipient waiting list and deceased donors, monitoring of immunological parameters in patients on the waiting list, and evaluation of tissue compatibility between donors and recipients.
Every donor centre appoints its hospital transplant coordinator.
The duties of hospital transplant coordinators, as prescribed by law, include:
- detecting and reporting potential deceased donors,
- participating in the maintenance of organ and tissue function until and during removal,
- participating in the evaluation of organ donor eligibility,
- organizing and coordinating organ and tissue removal,
- presenting donor activities to different audiences,
- reporting a serious adverse event (SAE) or serious adverse reaction (SAR)
Hospital transplant coordinators also have the following tasks:
- verifying the potential for donation at the donor hospital level,
- conducting family interviews for organ donation consent,
- educating health professionals in donor and transplant activities.
Central transplant coordinators cooperate with the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (RS) for the Transplantation of Organs and Tissues, Slovenia Transplant (ST). They represent a link among donor hospitals, the transplant centre, and ST.
The tasks of central transplant coordinators, as defined by law, include:
- receiving information on potential deceased donors from donor centres,
- after confirmed brain death, verifying the deceased person’s consent to donation,
- conducting family interviews for organ donation consent,
- organizing the preparation of potential deceased donors,
- cooperating with the hospital transplant coordinator and the responsible ICU physician in evaluating the suitability of a donor and organs or tissues for transplantation,
- when necessary, obtaining the investigating magistrate’s permissions for organ and tissue removal,
- coordinating organ and tissue removal among donor centres and surgical teams,
- organizing transport of surgical teams to and from the donor centre,
- reporting serious adverse events and serious adverse reactions,
- supervising storage and labelling of organs, and organizing transport of organs with appropriate documentation and biological specimens to transplant centres where transplantation will be carried out, and/or to centres where tissues will be prepared for conservation in the tissue bank,
- verifying compliance of procedures with regulations,
- preparing reports and organizing documentation,
- receiving all organ offers from our donors and donors from other countries of the Eurotransplant (ET) network,
- cooperating in procedures for disposal of organs which, after removal, were found to be unsuitable for implantation,
- coordinating opinions and findings among different experts in cases involving higher risk,
- reporting a serious adverse event (SAE) or a serious adverse reaction (SAR), and receiving and forwarding reports on SAE and SAR in line with regulations governing SAE and SAR reporting and management.
A clinical transplant coordinator works in a hospital department where future organ and tissue recipients are treated and prepared for placement on the waiting list.
The statutory tasks of clinical transplant coordinators include:
- managing and updating transplant recipient waiting lists,
- organizing the preparation of transplant recipients for the surgical procedure,
- cooperating with central transplant coordinator in organizing transplantations,
- managing the organisation of post-transplant follow-up for transplant recipients in accordance with the transplant centre’s operating procedures,
- reporting a serious adverse event (SAE) or serious adverse reaction (SAR) and receiving and forwarding reports on SAE and SAR in line with regulations governing SAE and SAR reporting and management.