Lack of hospital beds reduces transplants

THE rate of heart transplants performed in the UK has dropped 46% over 10 years, experts say.

This was despite a record number of UK donors available for organ transplants.
 “One explanation is the relatively small number of intensive care unit beds in the UK,” they wrote in a British Medical Journal editorial.

“It is difficult for surgeons at the six UK units to maintain their expertise, so the number of units may need to be reduced.”

Latest generation mechanical heart pumps were showing early survival rates comparable to transplant although this option was not suitable for all patients, they wrote.

BMJ 2011, online 5 May