Organ donation: cross-sectional survey of knowledge and personal views of Brazilian medical students and physicians

C X Lima, M V B Lima, R G Cerqueira, T G Cerqueira, T S Ramos, M Nascimento, C R M Andrade, D G Cunha, S L M Garcia
Transplantation Proceedings 2010, 42 (5): 1466-71

OBJECTIVE: To assess the knowledge, attitudes, and behavior associated with cadaver organ donation and transplantation among medical students and physicians.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We randomly selected 350 medical students, 150 physicians, and 150 intensive care unit physicians. Each completed a questionnaire consisting of 9 self-administered items, from which we gathered data about their knowledge about brain death and criteria for the diagnosis of brain death; their hypothetical behaviors, assuming willingness to donate their own or their family's organs; their trust in physicians; and their confidence in a diagnosis of brain death made by physicians.

RESULTS: We observed that knowledge about brain death increased with medical education level; the best results were noted in intensive care unit physicians. Agreement to transplant organs from brain-dead donors (odds ratio [OR], 4.58), confidence in brain-death diagnosis by physicians (OR, 2.17), and knowledge about criteria for the diagnosis of brain death (OR, 2.26) were predictors of willingness to donate one's own organs.

CONCLUSION: Enhanced medical knowledge of and involvement in donation are needed to achieve cadaver organ donation.

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