Accepting or declining an offer for a heart

Your heart transplant team will support your decision-making and guide you through the offering process

Key points

  • Discussions about different types of donors, and the risks that each donor has, will be had with you at the time you are placed on the waiting list
  • Not all organ offers are accepted
  • There may be issues with the donor or organ that mean the organ has a higher risk of failure than you or your transplant team are willing to accept
  • It is up to your transplant team and you to decide whether to accept or decline an offer
  • You may have problems, such as a recent infection, that makes you unsuitable to undergo transplantation at the time that an organ is offered

Understanding the risks

Every deceased donor and every organ are different. Some organs carry more risk than other organs. Sometimes the organ you are offered may carry a higher risk than either you or your transplant team are willing to accept.

The heart transplant team will discuss these issues with you at the time you are placed on the transplant waiting list. You can decide if there are some types of donors that you do not wish to accept organs from.

Learn about the risks from a donated heart

Answers to common questions

Accepting an offer

If your transplant team thinks that an offered organ is suitable for you, they may tell you relevant information about the donor and the organ.

They are not able to give you all of the information that they have about the donor. The donor’s name and personal details must be kept confidential. But you will be told if the donor has significant health problems that could affect how well the organ works after transplantation or the risk of disease transmission.

Declining an offer

The transplant centre will not force you to accept an organ offer. The transplant team is there to support you in your decision.

For patients on the heart transplant waiting list, it is very rare for the patient to turn down an organ offer that the transplant team think is suitable for transplantation.

Your transplant team will not offer you an organ that they think has more risks than benefits.

More information

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