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10 years of successful cooperation between Dermatology and Transplantation Surgery

(Vienna, 12 Jan. 2010) A special consultation service in the Division of Immunology, Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which was set up for patients with organ transplants, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. With this, the initiator Associate Professor Ao. Prof. Dr. Alexandra Geusau is taking into account the fact that patients with organ transplants are at higher risk of developing skin tumours and opportunistic skin infections because of their lifelong immunosuppression. As part of this consultation service, several thousand tests have been carried out so far on transplant patients and the results of these have been entered into a database. 

As well as providing patients with high-quality dermatological care during the special consultation, it has been possible for the first time, in cooperation with the team under transplantation specialist Univ. Prof. Dr. Andreas Zuckermann, to publish epidemiological data for Austria in terms of non-melanocytic skin tumours with highly immunosuppressed heart transplant patients. Alexandra Geusau and her team have also created a prospective study in which the largest number of different organ recipients so far in terms of Candida infections of the mucus membranes were evaluated with associated risk factors. Ao. Univ. Prof. Dr. Alexandra Geusau explains: “The number of transplanted patients is growing and their post-operative treatment is therefore becoming increasingly important. This requires interdisciplinary cooperation.”

Alexandra Geusau is a founder member of SCOPE (Skin Care in Organ Transplant Patients), a network of European dermatologists which was founded in 2002. Thanks to this organisation, the Medical University of Vienna cooperates with well-known university hospitals such as the Charité in Berlin and the Leiden University Hospital.  The SCOPE doctors carry out studies, collect and publish data on rare skin diseases and tumours with organ transplant patients and work closely together with the North American sister organisation ITSCC, in which world-famous transplant centres such as the Mayo Clinic are involved. This means Vienna is an internationally recognised centre for skin tumour research after organ transplantation.

In the Department of Surgery 1,000 lungs, 1,200 hearts, 5,000 kidneys and 1,300 livers have been transplanted so far. This makes the transplant centre one of the biggest in the world.