Attitudes of primary care professionals in Spain toward xenotransplantation

Transplant Proc. 2006 Apr;38(3):853-7. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2006.02.025.


Objective: The deficit in transplantable organs is making it necessary to find alternative sources. One possibility is xenotransplantation. However, the use of animal organs may be rejected by society and among health professionals. Primary Care is fundamental for promoting matters of health; in Spain it has access to nearly 100% of the population. Our objective was to analyze the acceptance of this therapy, although it is experimental, among Primary Care professionals, given that they are the ones most involved in spreading information about this therapy if it was confirmed to be useful.

Materials and methods: A random sample was stratified by sex, job category, and geographical location among Primary Care personnel, including 428 professionals in 32 health centers among population of 2851 professionals. Attitudes toward xenotransplantation were evaluated using a questionnaire on psychosocial attitudes validated in our geographical area. Contact was made in each center with the Doctor Coordinator for doctors, the Nursing Coordinator for nurses, and an Administrative Officer for ancillary personnel. The chi-square test and Student t test were applied to evaluate categorical and continuous data, respectively.

Results: Attitudes toward xenotransplantation were similar to those obtained in human organs: favorable in 79% (n = 325), whereas 19% (n = 78) had doubts and 2% (n = 10) were against. The attitude was more favorable in men (89% vs 72%; P < .000), those who had cared for transplant patients (84% vs 71%; P = .009), those with previous experience in organ donation and transplantation (84% vs 75%; P = .033), those with an attitude in favor of cadaveric organ donation (83% vs 66%; P < .0001), and those in favor of living donation of the kidney (P < .000) or the liver (P < .000), as well as those who believed that they may need a transplant at some time in the future (84% vs 74%; P = .045). There was a clear difference in attitude according to job category (P = .018): approval rates were 89% for doctors, 76% for nurses, and 70% for ancillary personnel.

Conclusions: Attitudes toward future application of xenotransplantation were quite positive among doctors. However, the attitudes of nursing and ancillary personnel were similar to those of the general population. The main factors related to such an attitude depended mainly on the previous relationship and attitude of the respondent toward human organ donation and transplantation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nurses
  • Physicians
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Spain
  • Transplantation, Heterologous*