Near East University Hospital Has Been Licensed to Perform Heart Transplant for Patients with Advanced Heart Failure: ACCORDINGLY, OUR PEOPLE, WHO HAVE NO OPPORTUNITY FOR HEART TRANSPLANT ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD INCLUDING TURKEY, CAN HAVE HEART TRANSPLANT IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY FROM NOW ON.

The Only Heart Transplant Center Having All International Standards
Within the frame of the law that regulates the minimum standards that must be met by all individuals and organizations involved in organ donation and human cell, tissue and organ transplantation, NEU Hospital with its contemporary infrastructure, cutting-edge high technology and multidisciplinary organ transplant team is ready to perform organ and cardiac transplantation.

According to the press release issued by the Directorate of Press and Public Relations Office of Near East University, Heart Transplantation Center had been launched within the body of NEU Hospital in line with global standards. It was underlined that the Heart Transplant Center with its state-of-the-art technological infrastructure and highly specialized multidisciplinary organ transplant team had completed all preparations required for performing heart transplantation procedures and licensed to perform heart transplant operations and provide unmatched lifesaving transplant procedures for patients under risk of losing their lives due to heart failure. The press statement underlines that NEU Heart Transplant Center is the only health facility in TRNC capable to carry out heart transplantation procedures with its multidisciplinary dedicated transplant team consisting of cardiovascular surgeons, cardiologist, heart transplant coordinator, pulmonologist, infectious diseases physician, experienced organ transplant nurses, and anesthetist. Asst. Prof. Dr. Özlem Balcı, who is a Cypriot cardiovascular surgeon and has performed many successful heart transplant procedures in Turkey so far, is currently the physician in charge of the Heart Transplant Center. Her expertise in heart transplant has been approved by the Turkish Scientific Board of Heart and Lung Transplantation.

The Heart Transplant Center, which came into service a year after the establishment of Advanced Heart Failure Center, will be able to perform heart transplant if appropriate donor is available. NEU Hospital Heart Transplant Center is committed to ensure the most effective treatment procedures for patients with advanced heart failure to prolong and improve their lives until a donor is available for heart transplantation.


The Press Launch of the Heart Transplant Center Was Realized with the Participation of the Chief Physician, Cardiovascular and Cardiology SpecialistsDuring the press launch of the Heart Transplant Center, Dr. Sevim Erkmen, the Chief Physician, Professor Hamza Duygu, the Head of Cardiology Department, Professor İlhan Sanisoğlu, Cardiovascular surgeon, Asst. Prof. Dr. Hatice Kemal Günsel, cardiologist and the Physician in Charge of Advanced Heart Failure Center, Asst. Prof. Dr. Özlem Balcıoğlu, cardiovascular specialist and the Physician in Charge of the Heart Transplant Center, and cardiovascular surgeons Associate Professor Barçın Özcem and Spc. Dr. Ali Önder Kılıç delivered a speech respectively about hearth failure, heart transplantation, transplantation processes in our country and organ donation required for organ transplantation.

Spc. Dr. Sevim Erkmen: Our People Who Do Not Have Opportunity to Have Heart Transplant in Any Country, Have this Opportunity at Near East University Hospital Heart Transplant Center from Now on”
In her opening remarks, the Chief Physician Dr. Sevim Erkmen stated that Near East University Hospital had been continuing to offer accessible, safe, affordable health services with a multidisciplinary approach at international standards without compromising quality since its establishment on 20th July 2010.

“We have organized this press conference to share with you that our people, who do not have opportunity to have heart transplant opportunity in any country including Turkey, have this opportunity at our university’s Heart Transplant Center from now on. Although the government has enacted the organ transplantation law recently, Near East University completed her organ transplantation preparations a long time ago in compliance with standards set by national and international bodies. In this regard, Near East University Hospital has been licensed to perform organ transplantation as it meets all standards set by the law for human cell, tissue and organ transplantation. As known, heart transplantation has a vital importance for patients suffering from advanced heart failure. Our fully equipped Heart Transplant Center is committed to offering the most comprehensive care and latest treatment options and providing advanced level medical care including artificial cardiac assist device and heart transplantation procedures” noted she.

Professor Hamza Duygu: “Transplant Procedures Should Be Performed at Centers with Strong Infrastructure and Physician Experience”
In his remarks, the Head of the Cardiology Department, Professor Hamza Duygu stated that heart failure, which was the common endpoint of many heart-related diseases, could be defined as a clinical syndrome of great importance with more mortality than many cancer types.

“Heart Failure can occur at any age, depending on the underlying cause. However, heart failure predominantly occurs in elder people. Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization and deaths. More than half of patients that diagnosed with heart failure lose their lives within 5 years, 3 out of 4 patients suffering from end stage heart failure lose their lives within a year. It has vital importance to provide these patients with appropriate and timely treatment before coming to this stage. The progress of the disease can be slowed or stopped by methods such as lifestyle modification and medication following diagnosis. The patients with end stage heart failure are obliged to live in a hospital environment, and at this point, the last port of refuge is heart transplantation. Tissue and organ transplantation is one of the fastest growing disciplines of medicine. Transplantation is accepted as an appropriate, routine and advanced treatment method which saves many lives and restores essential functions for many otherwise untreatable patients. Patients suffer from end stage heart failure are desperate patients who need to have either heart transplantation or artificial heart implantation surgery. However, the number of heart transplants is limited due to lack of available donors. In this regard, raising awareness for organ donation is of great importance.

Although heart transplant is the gold standard treatment for advanced heart failure, postoperative care and monitoring for heart transplant is complex and requires specialized, experienced physicians, nurses and health providers at transplant centers for successful outcomes. Special attention should be focused on management in the intensive care unit setting and potential complications that can occur in the immediate postoperative period. It is essential to administrate some effective medications to prevent the rejection of donor heart and protect the patient against infection. Health care professionals must work closely with patients and their families to prevent, identify, and treat such complications. Such collaboration is crucial in helping to meet the ultimate goals of heart transplantation as well as to improve survival and quality of life. In this regard, it has great importance to carry out heart transplant operations at centers with strong technical infrastructure and physician experience. Near East University Hospital, which closely follows all developments and novel treatment procedures for such patients suffering from heart failure, is a hospital capable of performing successful cardiac transplant operations by virtue of her high-tech equipped infrastructure and renowned specialized and experienced medical staff” said he.


Professor Dr. İlhan Sanisoğlu;”We Are Now Ready to Serve the Heart Transplant Patients, Who Cannot Be Touched As their Legal Infrastructure Had Not Been Enacted So Far. “
Underlining that Near East University Hospital had been carrying out all kind of open heart surgeries successfully so far by virtue of her high-tech equipped infrastructure and surgical team’s expertise and experience, Professor Sanisoğlu stated that they hadn’t been able to perform heart transplant as there was no legal regulation regarding organ transplantation.

“Since the law regarding human cell, tissue and organ transplantation has been enacted and our hospital is licensed for organ transplantation, Near East Hospital with its technical infrastructure and renowned surgical team is ready to serve the heart transplant patients, who cannot be touched due to lack of legal regulation. For our country, the newly enacted law has great importance. Despite the fact that donated organs can be send from TRNC to hospitals and transplant centers abroad, our people haven’t been included in transplant programs even in Turkey so far. In this regard, the services that will be provided for patients with heart failure by Near East University Heart Transplant Center have importance” said he.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Hatice Kemal Günsel: “All Medical Examinations of Patients with Advanced Heart Failure Are Met By Dr. Suat Günsel Fund
Expressing that NEU Advanced Heart Failure Center was established approximately a year ago as a center where patients with heart failure could be followed regularly and most effective and appropriate lifesaving treatment options could be tailored for them, Asst. Prof. Dr. Hatice Kemal Günsel, the physician in charge of Advanced Heart Failure Center, stated that their main objective was to provide these services for patients via specialized and experienced cardiologists and cardiovascular surgery teams as it is in all over the world.

Indicating that more than 100 patients have been regularly followed at NEU Advanced Heart Failure Center as of today, Asst. Prof. Dr. Hatice Kemal Günsel stated that all medical examinations, laboratory tests, echocardiography and cardiac pacemaker controls were met by Dr. Suat Günsel Fund.

“In advanced heart failure, despite the medication, sometimes the disease may worsen and result in death. If the disease worsens and hospitalization process increases despite the appropriate medication, heart transplantation becomes inevitable as the last lifesaving treatment option” noted she.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Özlem Balcıoğlu: Cardiac Transplants Can Be Performed by Adhering to the List consisting of Patients that Completed the Preparation Process in Compliance with the Global Standards”
Touching upon the mortality risk of heart diseases, the physician in charge of NEU Heart Transplant Center, Asst. Prof. Dr. Özlem Balcıoğlu delivered information regarding the issue: “Now, we know that the mortality rate of heart diseases is higher than the majority of all deaths caused by lethal diseases. Compared to other heart diseases, heart failure has a higher mortality rate. Nearly one third of all deaths in the world, corresponding to almost twenty million people annually, can be attributed to heart failure. Cardiac Transplants can be performed in accordance with the list consisting of patients that followed in advanced heart failure centers and whose preparation process is completed in compliance with the global standards. We periodically assess the patients with heart failure in a joint council formed by the Near East University Hospital Department of Cardiovascular Surgery and Department of Cardiology.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Özlem Balcıoğlu: “The Eligibility of Patients for Cardiac Transplantation is evaluated at the Councils Consisting of Transplant Cardiologists, Cardiovascular Surgeons, Pulmonologists,, Psychology / Psychiatry, Pathology and Anesthesia Specialists”Underlining that Near East University Hospital carried out successfully all procedures required for preparing a patient with end stage heart failure for a heart transplant operation in line with the global standards, Asst. Prof. Dr. Özlem Balcıoğlu stated that the eligibility of a patient for cardiac transplant was assessed at the councils consisting of transplant surgeons, transplant cardiologists, pulmonologists, psychiatry, pathology and anesthesia specialists. “Patients who are eligible for heart transplant with the decision of the council are included in the heart transplant waiting list. The waiting list is periodically reported to the TRNC Health Ministry Coordination Board, and all reported patients are processed in the national database” said she.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Özlem Balcıoğlu: “Unlike Other Operations, Heart Transplant Operation is a Procedure that Requires Expertise in this Field”
“Heart transplantation is a procedure that requires expertise in this field, unlike other operations. A team of experts in this field should work in a coordinated manner, while at the same time; the hospital should be a licensed one for organ transplantation. In order to meet the standards set by international bodies for cardiac transplant, Near East University Hospital has carried out all procedures for 2-3 years and completed all legal requirements for heart transplant. As known, the law regarding human cell, tissue and organ transplantation has come into force. Approximately a month ago, Near East University Hospital was licensed to perform cardiac transplant operations” said she.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Özlem Balcıoğlu: “All of Us Have Great Civic Responsibility Regarding Organ Donation”
Touching upon the lifesaving role of organ donation, which is the most important factor required for performing heart transplant procedure, Asst. Prof. Dr. Balcıoğlu stated that the organs of an individual exposed to brain death could be donated only by the consent of his/her relatives. “In this regard, all of us have great civic responsibilities regarding this issue” said she.

“Patients with end stage heart failure who are approved as transplant candidates and listed by the criteria set by national and international bodies, are eligible for being recipients of an appropriate donor heart. It is of importance to decide who is an appropriate donor. The primary survey of the donor includes the confirmation of brain death, verification of consent for donation, ABO blood typing, demographics, and identification of potential co-morbid conditions, height and weight of the donor. When a donor is available, all these conditions are taken into consideration to decide which heart transplant candidate is an appropriate recipient for the donated organ” noted she.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Özlem Balcıoğlu: “Transplantation Procedures Should Be Carried Out at Centers with Appropriate Infrastructure and Intensive Care Conditions Where Specialized and Experienced Transplant Teams and Nurses Involved in”
“When a patient is faced with a decision about having a heart transplant, it is essential to know what to expect from the heart transplant process, the surgery itself, potential risks and follow-up care. In this regard, heart transplant should be performed by centers having appropriate infrastructure and intensive care conditions. Besides, heart transplant procedure requires a multidisciplinary team consisting of medical staff that specialized and experienced in heart transplant surgery and follow up care. Preparations for a heart transplant often begin long before the cardiac transplant surgery. If our transplant team determines that the patient is a transplant candidate, the patient is registered on the waiting list by taking national and international transplant criteria into consideration. While waiting for a donor heart, our medical team closely monitors the patient’s condition and alters the treatment as needed. In this regard, NEU Heart Transplant Center is a source of hope for the future of our country and desperate heart failure patients” said she.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Barçın Özcem: “A Donor Means a Saved Life”
Touching upon the importance of organ donation, Associate Professor Barçın Özlem expressed his views: “Despite the fact that heart transplants are carried out successfully, the most important factor affecting heart transplantation is the difficulty in finding donors due to ethnical, political and religious reasons. Organ donation saves lives. In order to eliminate obstacles regarding organ donation, countries produce solutions with various legal regulations. I firmly believe that our people are aware of the importance of the organ donation and they will show sensitivity about this issue”.

Spc. Dr. Ali Önder Kılıç: “Public Awareness Regarding the Importance of Organ Donation Should Be Raised and the Patients Should be Informed that They Can Have Heart Transplant in Their Own Country”
Highlighting that organ transplant is the gold standard lifesaving treatment option when medication and other treatments work no longer, Cardiovascular Surgery Specialist Dr. Ali Önder Kılıç states that public awareness regarding the importance of organ donation should be raised and our people, who are in need of organ transplant, should be informed that they can have their treatment in their own country.