About your donor


Why it’s important to know some medical information about your donor

Key points

  • Your transplant team will discuss donor-related risk and different types of donors with you when you are put on the transplant list
  • Tests will be done on the donor to check their health and the health of their heart
  • You may need to know basic medical information about your donor when a heart offer is accepted for you
  • All donated hearts carry some risk, though in general this is much lower than the risk from your heart disease

Some donors have healthier hearts than others

There are many things that can affect how well a donated heart will work after a transplant. The health of your donor and their heart is one of them.

All donated organs carry some risk, but this will vary from donor to donor. In general, this risk is much lower than the risks posed by your heart disease.

Your transplant team will discuss donor-related risk and different types of donors with you when you are put on the national transplant waiting list. You can decide what types of organs might be suitable for you. Discussions about donor-related risk are often best had at the time of being put on the national waiting list.

On occasion, it may be important to know some information about your donor when you have been admitted to hospital for a heart transplant. If there are unusual risks that a donated heart might carry, your transplant team will discuss this with you.

The transplant team will not accept an organ for you if the risks are thought to be more than the benefits of the transplant.

Factors that can affect the health of your transplanted organ

  • The age of your donor
  • Whether your donor had any serious diseases or health issues

Learn about the risks from a donated heart

Gathering information about deceased donors

This is not always straightforward and it can sometimes be difficult to gather health information about a deceased donor. This is because:

  • We cannot ask deceased donors about their previous health
  • Donors may not have told their loved ones or GP about their health issues
  • There may only be a short time available to carry out tests on the donor

Answers to common questions

More information



You may also be interested in