The first Finnish heart transplant was performed in 1985. The number of transplants increased in subsequent years to such an extent that by the early 90s, more than 30 people had been operated. The first lung and heart-lung transplants had been performed in 1991 and 1988, respectively.

The transplant recipients soon realised the importance of the exchange of experiences and peer support, and the need for a forum where these and other forms of co-operation could be discussed. Suggestions of forming an own patient association were met with enthusiasm and had the complete support of hospital staff.

The plans were realised in 1990. A working group was set up to sketch rules and a plan of action for the new association. A constitutive meeting was held in Helsinki in 27 October, 1990. The association was founded by 31 heart transplant recipients and 25 support members (close relatives and other people with an interest in the matter).

The Finnish Heart and Lung Transplant Association was entered in the register of associations in February 1991. Albeit that we also became a member association of the Finnish Heart Association, part of our members have always been lung and heart-lung transplant recipients, and their active participation enormously important to us.


  • Membership: nearly 500 members ( nearly 250 transplant recipients and 250 supporting members )
  • 90 % of all Finnish heart, lung and heart-lung transplant recipients are our members.
  • Membership fee for transplanted members is 20 €  and for supporting members 10 €.

The main purposes of our association are to strengthen the bond between Finnish transplant recipients, provide them with a nationwide forum for discussion, and further their cause in every way possible. We also strive to promote the education of the general public regarding heart and lung transplantation and work to prevent cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.


  • We follow the recovery and rehabilitation of our members and observe how society meets their needs during the process.
  • We co-operate with the social service unit of Helsinki University Central Hospital and other hospitals
  • We support scientific research on the field of organ transplantation
  • In addition to our half-yearly statutory meetings, we offer our members several other occasions to get together in a more informal setting
  • We organise lectures, education, sports activities and rehabilitation courses
  • We collect and distribute information on heart and lung diseases and transplantation, and communicate our members' problems to hospitals.
  • We organise support conversations with pre-transplant patients and their families. Most of these are organised through transplant co-ordinators, but direct contacts are becoming more and more common. The conversations are voluntary for the patient.
  • All parties involved are under a vow of silence.
  • Our aim is to have at least one contact person in each hospital district.

We try to organise our activities equally in different parts of the country in order to be within the reach of all our members. For the same reason, financial support is provided for the participants.


  • with the Finnish Heart Association in matters concerning cardiovascular diseases
  • we also organise our rehabilitation courses in co-operation with their district organisation in Helsinki
  • with the Association for Kidney and Transplant Patients in questions concerning organ transplantation and transplant patients; also sports activities in the form of the Finnish Transplant Sports Association
  • with the Finnish Kidney and Liver Association, Finnish Diabetes Association, Finnish Lung Association and the Association for the Visually Disabled in the campaign " A Gift to Life", organised in order to promote organ donor cards in Finland.


  • Our association is of course a member of the European Heart Transplant Federation.
  • We participate in the biennial World Transplant Games and European Heart Transplant

Contact us by telephone:

Ilkka Vass,
+358 9 752 752 40, +358 40 5022 905
E-mail: ilkka.vass(at)
Mail adress: Oltermannintie 8, FIN-00620 Helsinki