On the nineteenth day of December one thousand, nine hundred and eighty-six, the founding members of ABTO met for the first time, at the Rebouças Convention Center in São Paulo, with the purpose of establishing this new class entity. The opening was given by the late Dr. E.J. Zerbini, who spoke about the different areas of organ transplantation, and, on this day, also spoke Professors Dr. Adib Domingos Jatene, about heart transplantation, Dr. Emil Sabbaga, about kidney transplantation, Dr. Silvano Raia, about liver transplantation, Dr. Tadeu Cvintal, about liver transplantation, and Dr. Tadeu Cunha, about liver transplantation. Tadeu Cvintal, about cornea transplantations, Dr. Urio Mariano, about tissue transplantations and Dr. Jorge Kalil, about immunology, all of them enumerating the points of difficulties, statistics, the Brazilian transplantation situation at the time and, mainly, the common point of all areas, which are the organ donors and recipients.

On that day the terms that would constitute the first bylaws of the Association were also discussed and voted on, document attached (1) and an integral part of this history, in which we can verify the main objectives of this entity, that is:

a) To stimulate the development of all activities related to organ transplantation in Brazil;
b) To bring together professionals and entities involved with or interested in organ transplantation;
c) To contribute to the establishment of standards and to the creation and improvement of legislation related to organ transplantation;
d) Stimulate the creation of donation centers, organ banks, recipient identification services, and other related services;
e) Stimulate research and place in the dissemination of knowledge about organ transplantation;
f) Promote congresses, symposiums, conferences and other activities related to organ transplantation;
g) Spread, to the general public with the available awareness resources, and respecting professional ethics, the humanitarian, scientific and moral meaning of organ donation for transplants.
h) Stimulate the interchange with similar Societies.

ABTO, in its first years of existence, encountered many difficulties, especially in the financial area, and, on many occasions, the board was compelled to pay for several expenses with its private resources.

Since its first administration, the board of directors was already fighting for the regularization of transplants, taking its suggestions to the writers of the transplant laws, both from the Legislative Branch and the Federal Council of Medicine, in the case of the definition of criteria for the diagnosis of brain death, for example. Also during this administration, ABTO, as part of SP Transplants, participated in the Pilot Plan for the elaboration of criteria, in each transplant area for organ donation, removal, and especially distribution, in São Paulo, which would later serve as a model for the rest of the country. At this time, the issue and sporadic distribution of an Informative Bulletin also started, with several articles such as: calendar of events, charts and other news related to the world of transplants.

The second administration continued the projects of the first, but one of the major problems of that time was worsening: the lack of organ donors. It was necessary to organize organ donation campaigns. Another major problem was the lack of doctors and paramedics specialized in the maintenance of a potential donor (brain-dead individual), as well as the lack of knowledge in communicating with the organ procurement centers. It became, then, urgent the need to organize lectures and specific training with the hospital teams. Several meetings were programmed since then, and were held in the main Brazilian cities, having continuity during the third administration.

Dr. Mário Abbud Filho already said, at the end of his administration (1992), when opening the III Brazilian Transplantation Congress, in the city of São Paulo, that being part of the board of directors at that time was a test of perseverance, resignation, and courage, because the task was immense and the number of arms was small. Even so, organ donation campaigns were already promoted and encouraged, warnings were issued about the lack of available infrastructure in Brazilian hospitals, claims were made with the governmental organs so that other types of transplants were codified by the Social Security, as well as, the commercialization of organs was vehemently fought against and the ethical and moral principles and the total transparency in the eyes of our society regarding the performance of transplants were defended with energy.

In 1995, under the management of the president Dr. Elias David-Neto, ABTO began its rise, finally projecting itself on the national scene. The National Registry of Transplants was created, which, in the beginning, was done in a completely handcrafted way, with the need for each transplant team in the country to be contacted by phone and convinced to inform monthly all the transplants they performed. Each month, the process was repeated. The transplants were entered into a program specially developed for this purpose and the reports issued were photocopied and sent by mail to all associates, transplant centers, Ministry of Health, health secretaries, some parliamentarians, media, and other interested parties. During this administration, the state transplant centers were also created, and ABTO actively participated in their formation, elaborating working models, including norms, routines, printed materials, etc. At this time, ABTO also developed a good relationship with the media, started to become known and, having participated more actively in the discussions about the law, made transplantation better known in the lay community. It went further, and got involved in the regulation of the distribution of new immunosuppressive drugs, which could provide transplant patients with a better quality of life. During his administration, the first statewide consensus on organ transplantation was also held, with all those responsible for the transplant teams in the state of São Paulo getting together over a weekend.

In 1997, under the direction of Dr. Valter Duro Garcia, ABTO decisively set out on its upward trajectory. The headquarters that, until then, had accompanied the President, was disconnected and installed in an independent room, on Paulista Avenue in São Paulo, with two female employees. Within a more aggressive policy, aiming at disseminating organ transplants even more, as well as intensifying the number of donations, the new board targeted four sectors considered as fundamental:

a) Organization
b) Financing
c) Education
d) Legislation and regulation

Organization: ABTO proposed a four-level system, i.e., national, state, regional, and hospital. The characteristics of the state and regional systems should not be uniform, but should adapt to the peculiarities of each region. In this model, the State would be in charge of normatization, distribution, financing and inspection, while the search for donors (attraction) would be the hospital's function, through its coordinators. A national registry was then started, at the initiative of ABTO, with uniform information on potential and effective donors and the causes of non-removal of organs, thus enabling a more specific study of each region.

Financing: the ABTO fight for the creation of a national fund to finance transplant-related activities and for the inclusion of all types of transplants in the health insurance plans could not go unmentioned.

Medical education: This period was also marked by the several regional courses held throughout the country, both for training hospital transplant coordinators and for making intensivists aware of the importance of maintaining the potential donor and communicating with the organ procurement centers. There was also a battle for the introduction of donation and transplantation courses in medical and nursing schools, and a project was sent to UNESCO.

Media: regionalized meetings were organized with the press to discuss specific or controversial topics, such as organ distribution, organ trade, and forms of consent.

Population: The subject of organ donation and transplants was definitely on the rise. There was, therefore, the need to provide information to the population. This was done through the media, lectures in schools, etc. The updated home page with pertinent information was also a good way to reach a certain segment of the population, in addition to the stimulus given to the creation of organizations of patients' or donors' family members to work actively in this area.

Legislation and regulation: it was important to work and much was done by the ABTO board to change the law, transforming it from "presumed donation" to "requested decision". The donor's opinion needed to be respected.

During this biennium, the JBT-Brazilian Journal of Transplantation was created, which is the official organ of the ABTO, destined to publish scientific articles in the area of transplantation and related specialties, written in Portuguese, English or Spanish, distributed to all the members, all the libraries of medical schools, transplant centers, all the headquarters of the Regional Council of Medicine. Currently, it is also distributed to transplant doctors and transplant associations in Latin America and Portugal. The National Transplant Register has gone through a total reformulation, increasing the number of information, graphics, and statistics, and started to be published as a magazine with the name RBT-Brazilian Transplant Register, having a wide distribution nationally and to Latin American countries, currently also distributed in Portugal. The former newsletter gained the name of "ABTO News", increased its volume, started to be published in the form of a magazine, increased its circulation and became a great source of information for the transplant class and alike.

In this biennium, for the first time, a team of transplanted athletes officially participated in a sports tournament outside Brazil: the II Argentinean Games and I Latin American Games for Transplanted Athletes, from 4 to 6 December 1998, in the city of Buenos Aires, with the participation of 150 transplanted athletes from Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay, Spain and Chile. Our athletes, participating in tennis, swimming, athletics, and bowling, brought home five gold medals and one silver medal. In the following biennium (under the command of the president Dr. Henry de Holanda Campos), the athletes' trajectory would continue, this time participating in the XII World Transplant Games, held from September 5 to 12, 1999, in Budapest - Hungary, with two athletes, in tennis and swimming. The tennis player reached the finals, losing only to the world champion, and swimming gave the Brazilians a bronze medal.

Another important event in this administration was the beginning of the National Campaign for Organ Donation, at a national level. September 27th, the day of Saint Cosme and Saint Damian (patron saints of transplants), was chosen as the symbol, that is, the National Day for Organ Donation. The "1st National Campaign for Organ Donation" mobilized the country almost completely, providing people not only with more knowledge about transplants, but also letting their feelings flourish, opening their hearts and placing there the first links to build a great chain of solidarity. This movement was also a demonstration of strength of a collectivity, by showing that, walking together and pursuing common objectives, everyone would gain much strength and success in the endeavor.

The years 1998 and 1999 were marked by a significant increase in the number of transplants performed: about 20% in 1998 and 30% in 1999, although, admittedly, it is still a very small number compared to the real needs of the country.

The following biennium, under the command of Dr. Henry de Holanda Campos, was marked by several initiatives towards the realization of courses, meetings, seminars, campaigns, etc. One of the main events was the Forum about the Liver Transplant Situation in Brazil, on February 9, 2001, in São Paulo, with the presence of the Coordinator of the National Transplant System, representing the Ministry of Health, representative from the Public Ministry, representative from the National Transplant Center, presidents from transplant patients associations, etc. The support for the installation of state transplant centers was intensified, there was a significant increase in the print run of the ABTO magazines, thus increasing the number of recipients of the direct mailing.

Diante de tanto crescimento, houve a necessidade de mudar a sede para um escritório maior, assim como de adquirir mais equipamentos e contratar mais um funcionário.

A significant moment in this biennium was the Seminar "Transplants - policies to promote organ procurement", in Brasilia on August 16th 2000, an event that represented a landmark in the evolution of transplants in our country, as, for the first time, a State Health Minister heard, from a large representation of professionals involved in several types of transplants, their suggestions and demands for the adoption of measures to enable a faster and significant increase in the number of donations. It was a high-level debate, where the credibility and trust deposited in ABTO by the entire transplant community could be noted.

A greater insertion in the international scenario was one of the priorities of Dr. José Osmar Medina Pestana, the next president of ABTO (Jul/2001 to Dec/2003), because the rapid growth in the number of transplants in Brazil put it in the international spotlight and this position needed to be consolidated through the greater dissemination of results, participation in international congresses, and publication of scientific papers. Therefore, the ties with the Portuguese Transplantation Society and with similar entities from Latin American countries were intensified. Brazil was also the stage for international events, such as the II Congress of the International Pediatric Transplant Association, which showed recognition of the maturity achieved by Brazilians in organ and tissue transplantation.

Another extremely relevant fact, still within the context of international politics, was the choice of Brazil, through ABTO, to coordinate the activities of a Latin-American Transplant Registry, along the lines of the RBT-Brazilian Transplant Journal.

ABTO, motivated by the desire to attract the population to the organ donation theme in a very direct way through its roots, in the middle of 2002, proposed to the Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel Samba School, the theme about transplants to be presented to the public in the 2003 parade. There was some concern and astonishment at the beginning on the part of the school leaders, but these feelings ended in enthusiasm and everyone plunged into the idea. For ABTO, this event was very significant because, besides the deserved credibility, it conveyed to society the message of donation through a manifestation of our culture and the most well-known of our traditions: Carnival.

The year 2002 was also marked by the official start of the scientific partnership between Brazil and Portugal, during the I Congresso Luso-Brasileiro de Transplantes, during the VI Congresso Português de Transplantação, from June 16 to 19, in Lisbon, Portugal, an event that will take place annually, alternating between Portugal and Brazil.

In April 2004, ABTO had 613 members (full members and founders), among physicians, biologists, nurses, psychologists, nutritionists, biochemists, social workers, and 48 correspondent members, the latter only people who are interested in the cause and wish to exchange correspondence with ABTO or receive its publications, totaling 961 members.


I National Congress of Organ Transplantation of ABTO
1 a 3/12/88 – Guarujá/SP

II National Congress of the Brazilian Association of Organ Transplantation
I ABTO Meeting for Nursing in Transplantation
29/11 a 02/12/1990 – Canela/RS

III National Congress of the Brazilian Association of Organ Transplantation
II ABTO Meeting for Nursing in Transplantation
03 a 05/12/1992 – São Paulo/SP

IV National Congress of the Brazilian Association of Organ Transplantation
III Transplantation Nursing Meeting
06 a 09/04/1995 – Curitiba/PR

V Congress of the Brazilian Association of Organ Transplantation
IV Transplant Nursing Meeting
09 a 12/04/1997 – Brasília/DF

VI Congress of the Brazilian Association of Organ Transplantation
V Transplant Nursing Meeting
07 a 10/04/1999 – Belo Horizonte/MG

VII Congress of the Brazilian Association of Organ Transplantation
VI Transplant Nursing Meeting
Histocompatibility Forum 2001 - ABH
28 a 31 de março de 2001 – Vitória/ES

VIII Brazilian Transplant Congress
VII Transplant Nursing Meeting
II Luso-Brazilian Transplant Congress
Histocompatibility Forum 2003 - ABH
28/06 a 2 de julho de 2003 – Fortaleza/CE

IX Brazilian Transplant Congress
IV Luso-Brazilian Transplant Congress
VIII Transplantation Nursing Meeting
Histocompatibility Forum - ABH
I Brazilian Meeting of Psychology in Transplants
I Brazilian Meeting of Physiotherapy in Transplants
02 a 06 de julho de 2005 – Salvador/BA
President: Dr. Jorge Bastos

X Brazilian Transplant Congress
VI Luso-Brazilian Transplant Congress
XIX Latin American and Caribbean Transplant Congress
IX Transplantation Nursing Meeting
Histocompatibility Forum - ABH
I Multiprofessional Meeting on Transplants
02 a 05 de setembro de 2007 – Florianópolis/SC
President: Dra. Maria Cristina Ribeiro de Castro
Local Committee President: Dr. Élcio Silva

XI Brazilian Congress of Transplantation
VIII Luso-Brazilian Transplant Congress
X Transplantation Nursing Meeting
II Multiprofessional Meeting on Transplants
Histocompatibility Forum - ABH
13 a 16 de outubro de 2009 – Recife/PE
President: Valter Duro Garcia
President of the Local Committee: Amaro Medeiros de Andrade

XII Brazilian Transplant Congress
X Luso-Brazilian Transplant Congress
XI Meeting of Transplantation Nursing
III Multiprofessional Meeting on Transplants
Histocompatibility Forum - ABH
01 a 04 de outubro de 2011 – Belem/PA
President: Ben-Hur Ferraz Neto
President of the Local Committee: Paulo Cardoso Soares

XIII Brazilian Transplant Congress
XII Luso-Brazilian Transplant Congress
XII Meeting of Transplant Nursing
Histocompatibility Forum - ABH
12 a 15 de outubro de 2013 – Rio de Janeiro/RJ
President: José Medina Pestana
Local Committee President: Lúcio Pacheco

XIV Brazilian Transplant Congress
XIII Luso-Brazilian Transplant Congress
Histocompatibility Forum - ABH
24 a 27 de outubro de 2015 – Gramado/RS
President: Lucio Pacheco
Local Committee President: Valter Duro Garcia

XV Congresso Brasileiro de Transplante
XVI Luso-Brazilian Transplant Congress
Histocompatibility Forum - ABH
ABTO-ISHLT Joint Symposium
18 a 21 de outubro de 2017 – Foz do Iguaçu/PR
President: Roberto C. Manfro
Local Committee President: Julio Cesar Wiederkehr

XVI Brazilian Transplant Congress
XVII Luso-Brazilian Transplant Congress
XV Transplant Nursing Meeting
Histocompatibility Forum - ABH
16 a 19 de outubro de 2019 – Campinas/SP
President: Paulo M. Pêgo Fernandes
Local Committee President: Marilda Mazzali

XVII Congresso Brasileiro de Transplantes
XIX Congresso Luso-Brasileiro de Transplantes
XVI Encontro de Enfermagem em Transplantes
Fórum de Histocompatibilidade da ABHI
21 a 23 de outubro de 2021 – Eleita cidade sede Brasília/DF
Realizado totalmente on line (pandemia)
Presidente: José Huygens Garcia
Presidente da Comissão Local: Daniela Salomão

XVIII Congresso Brasileiro de Transplantes
XXI Congresso Luso-Brasileiro de Transplantes
XVII Encontro de Enfermagem em Transplantes
Fórum de Histocompatibilidade da ABHI
27 a 30 de setembro de 2023 - Florianópolis/SC
Presidente: Gustavo Fernandes Ferreira
Presidente da Comissão Local: Maíra Silva de Godoy

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