A leading Birmingham transplant surgeon has revealed Britain’s critical need for more heart donors.
Professor Robert Bonser leads the heart transplant department at Edgbaston’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, one of the largest units of its kind in Europe.
During his career spanning two decades, the Professor said he has seen the number of heart transplants carried out in the UK drop by two thirds to less than 100 each year.
The surgeon said: “Living under that shadow of uncertainty is a haunting experience.
“Over the years we have developed therapies that could help many more patients with advanced heart failure.
“The tragedy is we don’t have enough donor hearts to treat everybody and to fully utilise all these possibilities.
“We have patients in critical care who are dying in front of our eyes as we are urgently waiting for a heart.”
The doctor, who has carried out more than 15,000 heart operations, including 250 transplants, features in a documentary, Heart Hospital, tonight which follows three patients who need life-saving heart operations.
It examines how the shortage is set to escalate as obesity is causing more people to have heart failure or damaged hearts.
At the same time, advanced medicine and improved road safety mean fewer young people are dying, but older people are often not suitable to use as a heart donors. Documentary Heart Hospital airs on ITV1 tonight at 10.35pm.