Full programme transcript >>
Around 3000 organ transplants – heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas - were performed in the UK last year.
But there are over 7000 people, adults and children, still waiting for one – many of them critically ill. Time is not on their side, and many will die before they get the much awaited call to say a suitable donor has been found.
In this edition of Case Notes, Dr Mark Porter talks to people waiting for transplants, and finds out what life is like once the operation has been carried out.
His guest in the studio is Celia Hyde, Acting Transplant Services Manager for the Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, the UK’s largest specialist cardiothoracic Hospital.
Not only is a transplant a huge and risky operation, but in many cases this life-saving procedure is only possible at the death of another person. This can place a psychological burden on the person who recieves the organ.
Maggie Gambrill had a transplant after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. She tells Anna Lacey about life with someone else's heart.
It might seem that once an organ has been found and a transplant carried out, that the difficult part would be over, but that's not always the case.
Mark meets Allison John, a medical student from Cardiff, who has had three transplant operations to replace four organs - her liver, heart and lungs, and kidney. She explains how the drugs she was taking to ensure her body didn't reject her new organs lead to her needing a kidney transplant.
Prof Steven Sacks, director of the MRC centre for Transplantation at Kings College London is heading a research team to find if there is an easier way to get the body to accept a new organ. He describes his latest work to Mark.
Next week: metabolic syndrome