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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 2329-0358

Attitudes Concerning Postmortem Organ Donation: A Multicenter Survey in Various German Cohorts

Constantin E. Uhlig, Daniel Böhringer, Gerrit Hirschfeld, Berthold Seitz, Hartmut Schmidt

Department of Ophthalmology, University Clinics, Münster, Germany

Ann Transplant 2015; 20:614-621

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.894385

Available online: 2015-10-13

Published: 2015-10-13


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to characterize postmortem organ donation attitudes in various German cohorts.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Employees of 2 German cities and 2 German university hospitals, employees of a German automobile enterprise, and members of a German Medical Society were administered a questionnaire about postmortem organ and tissue donation attitudes. Demographic data and general attitudes were questioned and focused on: I) willingness to donate organs, II) holding a donor card, and III) having discussed the topic with the family.
RESULTS: Of 5291 participants, 65.2% reported favoring postmortem organ donation. Missing negative experiences, the idea that donation is helpful, a non-medical professional environment, excellent general health, gender, agreement with the brain-death paradigm, and age significantly influenced the participants’ attitudes. Participants were more likely to possess donor cards and had discussed more often with family members if they agreed with the brain-death paradigm and considered donation to be helpful. Males and older participants were the most likely to neglect donor cards, and Catholics, Protestants, and participants with poor health were the least likely to donate organs. Interest in receiving more information was expressed by 38.1% and 50.6% of participants refusing donation of all or of specific organs, respectively, and suggested the internet (60.0%) and family doctors (35.0%) as preferred sources of information.
CONCLUSIONS: Public campaigns in Germany should focus on males and older people as regards donor cards, and females, younger, and religiously affiliated persons as regards the general willingness to donate organs postmortem.

Keywords: Organ Transplantation, Tissue and Organ Procurement, Transplantation, Homologous