Organ Procurement and Transplantation in Belgium
Belgium, a federal country of 11 million inhabitants (as of 2016), has been very active in the field of transplantation. Clinical transplantation activities were initiated in the early 1960s with the first, living and deceased, kidney transplantations.1-5 During these pioneering years, Belgium was recognized for carrying out the first deceased organ donation after the diagnosis of brain death in 1963 (by Pr Alexandre, University of Leuven),1,4 and the first long-term survival (10 months) after lung transplantation in 1968 (Pr Derom, Ghent University).6 The Belgian transplant centers were directly involved in establishing Eurotransplant in 1967 under the auspices of Pr Van Rood, from the University of Leiden (The Netherlands). Those efforts included also the implementation of a database for kidney transplant candidates and organ donors that improved HLA matching. Fifty years later, Belgium is still an active member of the Eurotransplant Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Leiden, which is currently in charge of organ allocation in 8 European countries for a total population of nearly 135 million inhabitants.