Context: Organ shortage for transplantation is a crucial problem; educational interventions may increase donations and decrease opposition.
Objective: To test the efficacy of an educational programme on opinions on organ transplantation and kidney donation.
Design and participants: Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial: eight intervention and eight control schools were randomly selected from the 33 public schools that agreed to participate. Targets: students in the last 2 years of secondary school (17-18 years); seven schools per group completed the study. EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMME:
Intervention: first questionnaire (anonymous); 2 h lesson in each class; 2 h general session with patients and experts; second questionnaire.
Main outcome measures: Differences between questionnaires (comparative analysis); interest; satisfaction with the programme; (cross-sectional analysis).
Results: 1776 first, 1467 second questionnaires were retrieved. Living kidney donation: at baseline 78.8% of students would donate a kidney to a relative/friend in need. The answers were unaffected by type of school but depended on sex (females more prone to donate, P<0.001); the answers did not change after the lessons. Cadaveric kidney donation: baseline opinions were mixed (intervention schools: 31.5% yes, 33.7% no, 34.8% uncertain), depending on type of school (classical-scientific high schools more positive than technical institutes, P<0.001), sex (males more prone to donate, P<0.001). Answers on living and cadaveric donation were correlated (P<0.001). The educational intervention increased favourable (31.5 to 42.9%) and uncertain (34.8 to 41.1%) opinions and decreased negative ones (33.7 to 16%) (P<0.001).
Conclusions: Educational interventions are effective in increasing interest and improving opinions about cadaveric organ donation.