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Every day in the UK three people die waiting for an organ transplant.
Each day this week on ITV News in our series From the Heart we have been highlighting how many lives could be saved if the desperate shortage of organ donors across Britain was ended.
ITV News Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty is at Papworth Hospital and has been speaking to transplant surgeons about a device which helps keep transplant patients alive until they receive a donor organ:
In the latest in ITV News' series of reports, From The Heart focuses on the extraordinary medical technology that keeps patients alive - while they wait for the heart transplant they so desperately need.
As ITV News' medical editor Lawrence McGinty reports from Papworth Hospital, the shortage of donors means that it is sometimes a long wait:
As part of the ITV1 special 'From the Heart' X Factor winner Alexandra Burke described how her family kept her mother's illness from her during the 2008 final of the X Factor.
Alexandra's mother Melissa needs a kidney transplant, and spends 8 hours a day on a dialysis machine, as she waits for one.
The severe shortage of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic organ donors mean that donors from these communities have to wait three times longer to get the transplant they need.
The NHS website where people can register to be organ donors is experiencing difficulties due to an "overwhelming demand" from people watching the ITV 'From the Heart' Tonight special.
Public opinion is firmly divided on whether organ donation should be opt-in, as it currently is in the UK, or opt-out, as it is in many other European countries, according to an ITV News poll by ComRes. Older people are more likely to agree with the current 'opt-in' system.
- 44% agree with the current system: it should be presumed that people have not agreed to donate their organs, unless they have opted to do so.
- 42% think we should adopt a system were consent is presumed: people's organs should be donated, unless they have expressly opted-out of doing so.
- Among those aged 65 and over, 50% think organs should not be donated unless consent is expressly given.
ComRes surveyed 2,055 people.
Latest ITV News reports
Vincenzo has been transformed from a patient so sick he could not wash his face to a man who strides confidently with a gleam in his eye.
A look at organ donation rates around the world and how the UK compares.