Cornea recipients: are their opinions and attitudes toward organ donation different from those of the general population?

G Abuksis, S Orenstein, A Hershko, R Michowiz, M Livne, N Loia, I Kremer, D Winbereger
Transplantation Proceedings 2004, 36 (5): 1249-52

BACKGROUND: Cornea transplantation provides a second chance for people with poor visual function. Unfortunately, there is a major shortage of donor cornea tissue. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the attitudes and willingness to donate organs among cornea transplant recipients.

METHODS: Sixty-eight patients who underwent cornea transplantation between January 2002 and May 2003 were asked to complete a questionnaire dealing with their attitudes toward cornea and organ donation, and willingness to donate an organ.

RESULTS: Religion was a contributing factor for a negative decision to donate organs. Only 29% of participants, most of whom were nonreligious were carrying a signed donation card. Fifty-eight percent of the patients knew that the cornea graft is derived from a deceased person; most of these patients were of European or American origin. Seventy-three percent knew that donation requires the agreement of a family member. Age, gender, marital status, and education were not significantly associated with attitude toward donation.

CONCLUSION: Stronger efforts are needed by transplant coordinators, physicians, and nurses to improve the education and knowledge of patients and their families about the basic aspects of transplantation. Greater public awareness may increase the willingness to donate organs.

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