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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019
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Seventy per cent of donor hearts exported in 2010

Poor donation rates have contributed to seven out of ten organs harvested in Ireland being sent to other countries last year as they were incompatible with patients awaiting transplants here.

Image: seyed mostafa zamani via Creative Commons

SEVENTY PER CENT of donor hearts collected in Ireland last year were sent overseas for use, as transplant rates collapsed at home.

The number of heart transplants performed in the Mater Hospital last year fell to just three from 11 on the previous year. The number of transplant surgeons also stood at just three – despite international recommendations indicating that at least five or six surgeons would be required for a country the size of Ireland, the Sunday Business Post reports.

About 20 patients were were on the waiting list for a heart transplant in Ireland last year. Two of them died waiting.

Terry Mangan, chairman of the Irish Donor Network, said: “Too many hearts were exported while people awaited transplantation in this country. We are desperately concerned about the low transplant rate.”

Jim McCarthy, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Mater, said sizing and blood group issues have been the reason for hearts to be exported over the years.

Ireland has one of the lowest rates for lung and heart transplants in the Europe. Last year was the worst on record for organ donation.

Read Susan Mitchell’s exclusive report in the print version of the Sunday Business Post >

More: Minister for Health to propose new ‘opt-out’ system for organ donation >

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