Organ donation: cross-sectional survey of knowledge and personal views of Brazilian medical students and physicians

Transplant Proc. 2010 Jun;42(5):1466-71. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2009.11.055.


Objective: To assess the knowledge, attitudes, and behavior associated with cadaver organ donation and transplantation among medical students and physicians.

Patients and methods: We randomly selected 350 medical students, 150 physicians, and 150 intensive care unit physicians. Each completed a questionnaire consisting of 9 self-administered items, from which we gathered data about their knowledge about brain death and criteria for the diagnosis of brain death; their hypothetical behaviors, assuming willingness to donate their own or their family's organs; their trust in physicians; and their confidence in a diagnosis of brain death made by physicians.

Results: We observed that knowledge about brain death increased with medical education level; the best results were noted in intensive care unit physicians. Agreement to transplant organs from brain-dead donors (odds ratio [OR], 4.58), confidence in brain-death diagnosis by physicians (OR, 2.17), and knowledge about criteria for the diagnosis of brain death (OR, 2.26) were predictors of willingness to donate one's own organs.

Conclusion: Enhanced medical knowledge of and involvement in donation are needed to achieve cadaver organ donation.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Death*
  • Brazil
  • Critical Care / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Patient Selection
  • Personnel, Hospital / psychology
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / methods
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / statistics & numerical data*