Organ donation crisis threatens hundreds of lives

The Telegraph By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor
Last year 429 patients died while on the waiting list for an organ transplant because of shortages in donations, new figures show

A crisis in organ donation is threatening the lives of hundreds of people who desperately need transplants, the NHS has warned.

For the first time in a decade, the number of deceased organ donors has dropped because of advances in medical care are saving more lives and family members are refusing to give consent. Just 58 per cent allowed transplants to go ahead last year despite the wishes of their loved ones.

There are also concerns that the number of useable organs is dropping because donors are older and less fit. A quarter of organs are now taken from obese patients compared with one in eight a decade ago while 33 per cent of donors are now 60 or older, compared with just 17 per cent in 2005.

Last year 429 patients died while on the active waiting list for an organ transplant, 38 of whom were waiting for heart transplants.

New figures showed there were 182 heart transplants carried out in the UK last year, a drop of 12 per cent and the number of people desperately waiting for a new heart has more than doubled in just five years. Continue reading

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