4 complex transplants in one day

4 September 2019

On Sunday 1 September 4 complex transplants were performed virtually simultaneously in the UZ Leuven operating wing. An amazing feat, because it was the first time in Belgium that all main transplantable organs of the body were transferred from donor to recipient on the same day.


Artsen in het operatiekwartier

The volunteer doctors and care providers remained in the operating theatre for almost 20 hours.


The 4 respective patients received a kidney/bowel/pancreas transplant, a liver/kidney transplant, a double lung transplant and a heart transplant. Overall eight organs were transplanted and two organs harvested, i.e. removed from a donor.

Bearing in mind that it was a Sunday, quite a few doctors, anaesthetists, surgeons and nurses, who were not on call at that time, were asked to back up the medical team. These volunteer doctors and care providers remained in the operating theatre for almost 20 hours. The operations were successful and three days on the patients are doing well.

350 organ transplants per annum

Liver, bowel, kidney, heart or lung transplants are now routine at the UZ Leuven transplant centre. For many patients it is a life saving intervention. Nevertheless, each transplant still represents a logistical and medical challenge involving a large number of participants. Transplant coordinators, surgeons, anaesthesiologists, nursing staff and intensive care physicians have to work together, perfectly attuned, as a team.

It is consequently an amazing feat to perform 4 major organ transplants almost simultaneously on the same day. Performing more than 350 organ transplants each year, UZ Leuven is one of the few hospitals in Europe, and worldwide, to conduct transplants in such large numbers for all organ types.

In the news

VTM Nieuws
Last edit: 16 November 2020