The number of people waiting for a heart transplant this Christmas has increased by 24% compared to last year, according to new figures. This includes 33 children, who will spend Christmas seriously ill.
A heart transplant is the only effective treatment available for people with severe heart failure, which cannot be treated effectively with medication. A new heart gives someone on average 14 years of extra life, and in some cases up to 30.
According to the latest figures, 8 in ten people want to donate their organs in the event of their death, but many people have not discussed their wishes with family.
Since last Christmas, 31 people have died while waiting for a heart transplant, and there are currently 298 people on the waiting list.
Start a conversation. Save a life.
This Christmas we're joining calls for people to speak to their loved ones and make their wishes known about organ donation.
Our Chief Executive, Simon Gillespie, said:
"A heart transplant is a matter of life and death for people with irreversibly diseased or damaged hearts, extending their lives for around 14 years, if not more.
"It's agonising to think of the people, including 33 children, who will spend Christmas seriously ill because of the increasing donor shortage.
"Our figures show that around eight in 10 of us want to donate our organs, but it's vital for us all to discuss this with our families so if the worst should happen they will be able to honour our wishes and save a life."
Read more about the BHF's lifesaving research into organ transplant rejection