Throughout the year 2015, the crews from the 8th Airlift Base in Cracow and from the 33rd Airlift Base in Powidz were involved in the “Akcja Serce” [Operation Heart] initiative 15 times. The initiative involves airlift operations, pertaining the organs intended for transplantation. The last flight this year took place on 29th December, as requested by the Warsaw Cardiology Institute. CASA C-295M aircraft covered a route between Cracow-Warsaw-Gdansk-Warsaw-Cracow. Realization of the sortie took almost 14 hours. The previous flight, involving a Bryza aircraft from Cracow, took place on 21st December, with a route between Cracow-Gdansk-Wrocław-Cracow.
Exactly 30 years have passed in November 2015, since the moment when Zbigniew Religa, Polish Cardiac Surgeon asked the Chief of the Polish Army’s General Staff for assistance, within the scope of transporting a heart for the patient waiting for a transplant surgery in Zabrze. The organ was to be taken out of a body of a dead person in Stettin, and only an airlift operation could make it possible to deliver the heart, without any irreversible changes that would make the transplantation impossible. The first operation involved an An-26 aircraft, flying from the West Pomerania to Katowice. In this way, cooperation between the Polish Air Force and the Zabrze Clinic began.
Later the cooperation involved the Cardiac Surgery Clinic, based in Cracow. The initiative has been formalized since 1988, when an agreement has been signed, according to which the Polish military provides the airlift services for the Polish transplant surgery centres, free of charge. It is also when the “Akcja Serce” (Operation Heart) name started to emerge in the public sphere. At the moment, CASA C-295M and PZL M28 Bryza aircraft are being used within the scope of the operation.