Hospital personnel faced with organ xenotransplantation: an attitudinal survey in a hospital with a pre-clinical liver xenotransplantation program

A Ríos, C Conesa, P Ramírez, P J Galindo, M M Rodríguez, L Martínez, M J Montoya, J M Rodríguez, P Parrilla
Xenotransplantation 2006, 13 (5): 447-54

BACKGROUND: In situations of extreme urgency when there is a need for vital organs, xenotransplantation could provide a bridge until the arrival of a human organ. However, it is important to find out the level of acceptance of this potential therapy among the health care workers who would be involved in its implementation. The objective of this study is to analyze attitude among personnel in a hospital with a pre-clinical xenotransplantation program toward xenotransplantation and to determine the variables that influence this attitude.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A random sample (n=1168) was taken and stratified according to job category and service. Attitude toward xenotransplantation was evaluated using a validated questionnaire. Contact was made with the head of each service who was given an explanation of the project. This person was made responsible for the distribution and collection of the survey in each service in randomly selected work shifts. Such a survey was completed anonymously and was self-administered. A random sample of 250 individuals from our regional community was used as a control group.

RESULTS: The survey completion rate was 98% (n=1148). Most respondents are in favor (67%), 7% are against and 26% undecided. Such an attitude is more favorable in the control group (74% vs. 67%; P=0.0378). The following factors are positively related to such an attitude: (1) male sex (P<0.0005); (2) a younger age (P=0.013); (3) participation in prosocial voluntary activities (P=0.002); (4) knowing that the church has a positive attitude toward donation and transplantation (P<0.0005); (5) a partner's favorable attitude toward transplantation (P<0.0005); (6) a physician's job category (P<0.0005); (7) a resident physician's job contract situation (P=0.017); (8) a respondent's belief that he or she may need a transplant in the future (P<0.0005); and (9) a favorable attitude toward human donation, whether this be cadaveric or living (P<0.0005). In the multivariate analysis, the following persist as independent variables: (1) sex (odds ratio=1.6); (2) participation in prosocial voluntary activities (odds ratio=2.2); (3) a partner's unfavorable attitude toward transplantation (odds ratio=0.3); (4) a favorable attitude toward cadaveric donation (odds ratio=2); and (5) attitude toward living liver donation (odds ratio=3.8).

CONCLUSIONS: Attitude toward xenotransplantation is not as favorable among hospital personnel as it is in the general public and this is determined by many factors. It will be necessary for research groups to periodically carry out awareness-raising activities about our findings in our own centers, to avoid the rejection that could be generated by a lack of awareness.

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