Medical students' knowledge about organ transplantation: a South African perspective

S Sobnach, M Borkum, R Hoffman, E Muller, F McCurdie, A Millar, A Numanoglu, D Kahn
Transplantation Proceedings 2010, 42 (9): 3368-71

BACKGROUND: Educating physicians about transplantation during undergraduate training can improve organ procurement rates. The aim of this study was to evaluate and analyze the knowledge of medical students regarding transplantation.

METHODS: A previously validated self-administered anonymous questionnaire was distributed to all medical students.

RESULTS: Of the 346 participants, 217 (63%) were preclinical students. Their mean age was 21 years (range, 18-33) and 62% were women. Twenty-nine (8%) students were registered as organ donors. One third of all study participants received formal transplantation teaching; a greater proportion of clinical students received teaching compared with the preclinical group (52% vs 22%, P < .05). Knowledge was frequently reported for kidney (88%), liver (81%), bone marrow (78%), and heart (76%) transplantation. Small Intestine (13%), pancreas (9%), and pancreatic islets (4%) were the least recognized organs/tissues. Ninety-six percent and 62% of respondents were aware of kidney and liver living-donor transplants, respectively; the 27% of students with an interest in a surgical career had better knowledge of living-donor transplantation (P < .05). Only 22 (6%) students knew which solid organ transplants were performed in South Africa.

CONCLUSION: Medical students have limited knowledge about organ transplantation; there is a need for educational intervention early in the medical curriculum.

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