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Heart transplant hopefuls have doubled in four years

The number of patients waiting for a heart transplant has more than doubled in the last four years, figures show.

There are 211 people in the UK on the heart transplant list at the moment - a stark rise from the 92 people on the list in March 2009, according to figures from NHS Blood and Transplant.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said that the 129% increase was “worrying”.

The charity attributed the “dramatic rise” to more people surviving a heart attack but living with the consequence of heart failure

A spokesman said that due to a shortage of donor organs, the number of heart transplants carried out each year has not increased enough to meet the extra demand.

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the charity, said: “The frightening truth is the number of men, women and children waiting for a donor heart has doubled over the last four years.

“The reason for such a dramatic increase is donor hearts are in desperately short supply and demand for them is growing. The solution has to be more people signing up to the Organ Donor Register and then telling their relatives they have decided to become a lifesaver.”

Professor James Neuberger, associate medical director at NHS Blood and Transplant, added: “As our population is generally getting older and more overweight, demand for heart transplants is increasing while the number of hearts suitable for transplant is being reduced. Advances in medical science such as ventricular assist devices also mean that more patients can now be kept alive and listed.

“The unfortunate reality is that there is a shortage of donor hearts and not everybody gets the organ they need in time.

“In order to save more lives, we need more people to be proud about the possibility of donating their organs when and if they can and for families approached to agree to donating loved one’s organs. If you support organ donation speak to those closest to you about your wishes and join the NHS Organ Donor Register. To do so, visit, www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.”

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