[Physicians faced with living liver donation: an attitudinal study in a Spanish hospital with a living donor liver transplant program]

Antonio Ríos, Pablo Ramírez, Pedro José Galindo, María del Mar Rodríguez, Laura Martínez, Mariano Jaime Montoya, Dolores Lucas, Jesús Alcaraz, Pascual Parrilla
Gastroenterología y Hepatología 2006, 29 (10): 597-601

INTRODUCTION: Mortality on the waiting list for liver transplants is high. Consequently, alternatives such as living donation are being sought. Therefore, one of the aspects that should be improved is the attitude of healthcare professionals toward this type of donation in order to create a favorable climate. The objective of this study was to identify attitudes toward living liver donation among physicians in a hospital with a living donor liver transplant program and to analyze the variables that affect these attitudes.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A random sample stratified by type of service (n = 369) was performed among physicians in the hospital. Attitudes were evaluated using a survey validated in our geographical area. In each service, the head of service, or in their absence, an attending physician, was contacted. This person was given an explanation of the study and was made responsible for distributing the questionnaire in selected work shifts. The questionnaire was completed anonymously and was self-administered. Statistical analysis consisted of chi2 test, Student's t-test, and a logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS: The survey completion rate was 93% (n = 345). Of those surveyed, 15% (n = 52) were in favor of living liver donation whether related or unrelated. This percentage increased to 85% (n = 292) if donation was related. Of the remainder, 8% (n = 27) did not accept living liver donation and the remaining 7% (n = 26) were undecided. This attitude was associated with only two factors: the respondent's belief that he or she might need a transplant in the future (p = 0.003) -90% of those who believed that they might need a transplant at some point in the future were in favor-, and the respondent's acceptance (if transplantation were necessary at some point in the future) of a living donated liver from a family member or a friend (p = 0.000). Thus, 96% of those who would be prepared to accept a living organ were in favor. In the multivariate analysis, both variables remained significant: the respondent's belief that he or she might need a transplant in the future (odds ratio [OR] = 2.36) and, if this were the case, the respondent's acceptance of a living donated liver (OR = 7.11).

CONCLUSIONS: Attitudes toward living liver donation among physicians in a hospital with a living donor transplant program were highly favorable. Consequently, these health professionals may be a key element for the promotion of living donation at the present time when this form of donation is being encouraged to avoid mortality on waiting lists.

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