The rate of organ donations from deceased donors in Malaysia is among the lowest in the world. This may be because of the passivity among health professionals in approaching families of potential donors. A questionnaire-based study was conducted amongst health professionals in two tertiary hospitals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Four hundred and sixty-two questionnaires were completed. 93.3% of health professionals acknowledged a need for organ transplantation in Malaysia. 47.8% were willing to donate their organs (with ethnic and religious differences). Factors which may be influencing the shortage of organs from deceased donors include: nonrecognition of brainstem death (38.5%), no knowledge on how to contact the Organ Transplant Coordinator (82.3%), and never approaching families of a potential donor (63.9%). There was a general attitude of passivity in approaching families of potential donors and activating transplant teams among many of the health professionals. A misunderstanding of brainstem death and its definition hinder identification of a potential donor. Continuing medical education and highlighting the role of the Organ Transplant Coordinator, as well as increasing awareness of the public through religion and the media were identified as essential in improving the rate of organ donations from deceased donors in Malaysia.
© 2012 The Authors Transplant International © 2012 European Society for Organ Transplantation. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.