Britain's six heart transplant units face the reality of closure as the number of transplants has decreased by 46 per cent in the last ten years, report some doctors.
Their report appears in the British Medical Journal,
where they say, "It is difficult for surgeons in the six UK units to maintain their expertise, so the number of units may need to be reduced."
The six units where transplants are carried out are Harefield Hospital in London, Papworth near Cambridge, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, the Freeman Hospital and the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow.
Heart transplants for children are done in Harefield and Newcastle as well as in Great Ormond Street.
Guy MacGowan, a consultant cardiologist at the Freeman Hospital, the lead author of the report, has written about a couple of units closing down, although he has not specified which. The difficulty in getting donor hearts has brought down the number of surgeries done each year.
The Department for Health has planned to review cardiothoracic transplantation.