Increasing numbers of people in the USA are developing heart failure, while heart transplant waiting lists are becoming longer, a new study published in the American Journal of Transplantation reveals. The study shows a 32% heart donor acceptance in 2010, with older donor age, female sex, and medical conditions predicting non-acceptance of hearts from donors. Regional variation in donor heart utilisation across the United States suggests that donor heart acceptance practices are not standardised. This indicates a clear need for clinical guidelines in addition to more concentrated efforts to increase the use of donor hearts in areas with comparatively low utilisation rates.
The Children’s Heart Federation has launched a campaign to highlight the need for more heart donors for children and young people, due to the consent rate for organ donation remaining static, while the number of children with congenital heart conditions is increasing annually. Anne Keatley Clarke, Chief Executive of Children’s Heart Federation, said “the Children’s Heart Federation, clinicians and patients need to join forces to create an environment where the vast majority of people in the UK are prepared to donate their organs when and if they can. We want families to be proud to agree to donation when their relative’s wish is unknown”. Due to increasing demand, and the sustained shortage of donor hearts, Ms Clarke stated “it is more important than ever that we work together to produce and update structured guidelines and standards on heart transplantation to ensure equity of treatment for patients with congenital heart disease.
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