Transplantation activities in Iran.
Iran is a tropical country with a land area of 1,648,000 square kilometers and a population of 68,100,000. Iran has a recorded history that dates back 2553 years. Its earliest medical school was Pasargad. Jondi Chapour University was founded 1753 years ago during the Sassanid dynasty as a center for higher education in medicine, philosophy, and pharmacology. Indeed, the idea of xenotransplantation dates back to days of Achaemenidae (Achaemenian dynasty), as evidenced by engravings of many mythologic chimeras still present in Persepolis. Avicenna (980-1037 AD), the great Iranian physician, performed the first nerve repair. Transplantation progress in Iran follows roughly the same pattern as that of the rest of the world, with some 10-20 years' delay. Modern organ transplantation dates back to 1935, when the first cornea transplant was performed at Farabi Hospital in Tehran, Iran. The first living-related kidney transplantation performed at Shiraz University Hospital dates back to 1968. The first bone marrow transplant was performed at Dr. Shariaati's Hospital in Tehran. The first heart transplant was performed 1993 in Tabriz, Iran. The first liver transplant was performed in 1993 in Shiraz. The first lung transplant was performed in 2001, and the first heart and lung transplants were performed in 2002, both at Tehran. In late 1985, the renal transplantation program was officially started in a major university hospital in Tehran and was poised to carry out 2 to 4 transplantations each week. Soon, another large center initiated a similar program. Both of these centers accepted surgical, medical, and nursing teams from other academic medical centers for training in kidney transplantation. Since 2002, Iran has grown to include 23 active renal, 68 cornea, 2 liver, 4 heart, 2 lung, and 2 bone marrow transplantation centers in different cities. In June 2000, the Organ Transplantation Brain Death Act was approved by the Parliament, followed by the establishment of the Iranian Network for Transplantation Organ Procurement. This act helped to expand heart, lung, and liver transplantation programs. By 2003, Iran had performed 131 liver, 77 heart, 7 lung, 211 bone marrow, 20,581 cornea, and 16,859 liver tranplantations. Sources of these donations were living-unrelated donor, 82%; cadaver, 10%; and living-related donor, 8%. The 3-year renal transplant patient survival rate was 92.9%, and the 40-month graft survival rate was 85.9%. Another large step in expanding the transplantation program is the construction of the Avi- Cenna (Abou Ali Sina) Transplant Hospital in Shiraz. This hospital hopefully will begin operation in 2 years. It will offer the opportunity for the exchange and sharing of organs and increased cooperation between transplant teams in the Middle East. The hospital offers great promise for transplant medicine in Iran and other Persian Gulf countries.