Physician issues heartfelt plea in favor of transplants

Rare is the occasion when this writer feels the need to resort to the media on medical issues. But such is the need when public opinion might achieve critical mass and influence decisions taken by the state. This article is an attempt to inform the public on the issue of heart transplants versus Left Ventricular Assist Systems (known as artificial hearts) as the alternative. In November last year, at major scientific meetings, two contradictory views were aired: one that heart transplants were costly and superfluous for Greece and that they should be replaced by cardiac assist devices; and second, that other transplant centers, besides the existing national body, need to be set up. The latter view was influenced by incidents in which transplant organs were sent by the National Transplant Organization to other EU countries. Scientifically, economically and from the point of view of humanity, these views are strange ones. So where does the truth lie? (1) Petros A. Alivizatos is the director of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Transplant Division of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center.