39% of lung donations from smokers

News Shopper: Specialist nurses in organ donation evaluate the donor's smoking history Specialist nurses in organ donation evaluate the donor's smoking history

More than one in three lung transplants in the last three years have been from donors who smoked, Health Minister Earl Howe has disclosed.

In a written reply, Lord Howe said that between April 2009 and 2012, 39% of lung transplants were from donors "with a past history of smoking".

He said all lungs were carefully evaluated to ensure a donated organ does not go to waste if "clinically viable" and there is someone who could benefit.

Due to a shortage of organs, the patient's probability of survival is greater if lungs from smokers are accepted than if they were declined.

Lord Howe said specialist nurses in organ donation evaluate the donor's smoking history and pass this to the transplant team to make a clinical decision on whether to accept the organ.

He said the Government was constantly seeking to raise awareness of organ donation and encourage people to add their names to the NHS organ donor register.

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