Low number of heart transplants 'disappointing'
on 09/10/2012 00:00:00
Mr Murphy, referring to new European organ donation and transplantation figures, said the absence of a dedicated heart surgeon was partly to blame.
"We don't seem to have a proper heart transplant programme - we don't have a dedicated heart transplant surgeon," he said.
"We're also not listing enough people who require heart transplants. Our heart transplant list would be very low compared to other countries."
Mr Murphy said unused donated hearts taken from patients in Irish hospitals are exported to Britain.
"I believe there are huge missed opportunities in the area of heart transplantation in Ireland," he said.
Mr Murphy said European donor and transplant figures showed that Ireland had its first ever cardiac death donor last year.
Up to now in Ireland, organs could only be recovered from patients who have been declared brain-dead.
Organ donation after cardiac death is allowed where death is pronounced based on cardio-respiratory criteria rather than neurological.
Mr Murphy said allowing organ donation after a cardiac death would result in more organs becoming available.
Ireland is now one of 11 European countries who have used cardiac death to address the demand for organ donation.
A record 165 kidney transplants from deceased donors and a record 27 living donor kidney transplants were carried out last year.
Mr Murphy said Ireland was now in 12th position in Europe for all kidney transplantation.
Meanwhile, a European day for organ donation and transplantation will be celebrated throughout Europe on Saturday.
To mark the campaign, the Irish Kidney Association is urging people to take part in Run for a Life, a charity run/walk that takes place on Saturday, in the Parkwest Business and Residential Campus in Dublin.