Attitudes and Factors Affecting Organ Donation in Family Members of Kidney Transplant Recipients. A Single Centre Survey

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Abstract

Introduction

According to NHS Blood and Transplant, the UK has the lowest rate of transplant consent in Europe. “Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020” states that the UK will never have a world class donation and transplantation service if more than 4 out of every 10 families say no to donation. At present, 43% of families refuse to donate. This prompted us to conduct a survey in our transplant department amongst close family members of renal transplant recipients.

Methods

A questionnaire was developed and distributed to the family members accompanying kidney transplant recipients in follow up clinic. The questionnaire aimed to capture the demographics, financial and educational status, transplantation experience and willingness to donate organs. Reasons for not donating were specifically asked for and recorded.

Results

There were 41 respondents (27 F, 14 M). 80.5% (n=33) of the respondents were of White and 19.5% (n=8) of Asian origin. The majority, 63.4% (n=26) were Christian. 34.1% (n=14) had live donor and 58.5% (n=24) had deceased-donor kidney transplantations. The majority of the study population, 92.7%(n= 38), had a first degree relative or spouse who received the kidney. 90.2% (n=37) stated an excellent improvement in quality of life of their loved ones.

Discussion

Studies have revealed that there are multiple, increasingly complex factors affecting consent to donate amongst donors. A systematic review by Irving et al has highlighted factors such as religion, culture, family influence, medical mistrust and fear of early retrieval as the most important factors negatively affecting donation process.The desire to donate in family members was higher than the national average. Despite the majority of family members willing to donate,26.8% were not on the organ donor register. Low financial status, increasing number of dependent children and a main caring role negatively affected the desire to donate.

Conclusions

Factors affecting organ donation are complex. This survey was done amongst family members of successful kidney transplantation recipient who were highly satisfied with the results. Despite this, only 70.7% expressed desire to donate. More studies are needed to look into these factors at a national level and reduce the mismatch between organ donation and supply.

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