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Max V. Meyer-Marcotty, Hans O. Rennekampff, Max Haerle, Karsten Knobloch, Peter M. Vogt
Ann Transplant 2010; 15(3): 87-92
Background: Composite Tissue Allotransplantation (CTA) is a new medical field of growing importance. This paper focuses on the infrastructure and organisation of European CTA centres and discusses the differences between national health systems.
Material/Methods: Eight European centres (Valencia, Innsbruck, Munich, Lyon, Amiens, Creteil, Wroclaw, Monza) were sent with a specially-designed, standardized, 20-item questionnaire.
Results: Five of the eight centres returned our questionnaire: Munich, Innsbruck, Lyon, Amiens, Wroclaw. Since 1998, CTA has been performed at these centres. In both French centres and the Polish centre public funding is available in addition to the coverage provided by health insurers. In Munich the costs for a double upper-arm transplantation were Euro 150,000 with an additional Euro 50,000–70,000 per year. In Lyon the costs for a singular hand transplantation were Euro 70,000 per year and in Wroclaw (Poland) the costs for a hand or upper arm transplantation were Euro 20,000–30,000. As many as 17 different medical professions are involved in the CTA at the different centres.
Conclusions: CTA is an innovative promising therapeutic tool that is based on the experiences of solid organ transplantation and profound microsurgical skills. Due to the complexity of the infrastructure, sourcing and the organisation CTA can only be successfully performed at specialized centres. A European network with an international European waiting list and a central coordination for CTA should be established. In order to advance CTA as an important tool in reconstructive surgery we must turn our attention to how the costs will be met, the legal environment for procurement of adequate donors and open ethical questions.
Keywords: composite tissue allotransplantation, legal environments, comparison European centres