Desperate transplant patients are being given the lungs of chain smokers because the NHS is so short of organ donations.
Surgeons are also being forced to use diseased body parts from cancer sufferers, drug addicts and the very elderly.
Experts say that the waiting list for transplants has now grown so long that hospitals are increasingly resorting to implanting so-called ‘high risk’ organs.
There are around 8,000 people needing an organ donation at any one time and every day three patients die because they do not get one in time.
As a result, doctors say that most patients would probably accept a ‘high risk’ or ‘marginal’ organ as without it they may not survive the year.
They are also using tissue from those more at risk of carrying HIV and Hepatitis C such as gay men and drug users.
These groups are not allowed to give blood but they can donate organs simply because there is such a shortage.
Professor James Neuberger, associate medical director of the NHS Blood and Transplant, the Government agency responsible for organ donations said: ‘In an ideal world you would rather have lungs from 20-year-old healthy people who have never smoked, but that isn’t a luxury we have.