Factors relating to consent for organ donation: prospective data on potential organ donors

Intern Med J. 2015 Jan;45(1):40-7. doi: 10.1111/imj.12628.


Background: Obtaining family consent to organ donation is a significant obstacle to improving further Australian deceased organ donation rates. Currently, neither the consent rates for donors eligible to donate after circulatory death, nor factors that influence decision to decline or consent to donation in general are known in Australia.

Methods: This study at four university teaching hospitals in Melbourne, Victoria, examined consecutive patients where organ donation was discussed with the family

Results: A total of 123 cases were identified; the family consent rate was 52.8%, and 34.1% proceeded to donation. Consent to donation was related to potential donor factors such as country of birth, cultural background in Australia, a non-religious or Christian background and registration on the Australian Organ Donor Register. Family-related factors included being English speaking and having knowledge of the deceased's wishes about organ donation. Family of donation after circulatory death-eligible donors were less likely to consent to donation than the family of donation after brain death-eligible donors, although not reaching statistical significance. Among consented potential donors, those eligible for donation after brain death and with a shorter length of stay were more likely to proceed to donating organs for transplantation.

Conclusion: Despite a small sample size, these findings describe current consent and donation rates and associated factors and may assist in improving conversations about organ donation.

Keywords: brain death; circulatory death; consent; organ transplantation; prospective audit.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Culture*
  • Decision Making*
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tissue Donors*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / trends*
  • Victoria