Purpose: Corneal transplantation is the treatment of choice for many corneal diseases. At present, there is a global shortage of corneal transplant tissues, and failure to obtain consent from families of potential donors is a major limiting factor in tissue procurement.
Methods: All family members of potential donors after cardiac death approached by the local eye bank staff members from January 2008 to December 2014 in Hong Kong were included. Reasons for consent or refusal and sociodemographic details of the deceased and the family members approached were reviewed. Trends in consent rates from 2008 to 2014 were examined. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to examine determinants of donation among cases from 2013 to 2014.
Results: A total of 1740 cases were identified. The overall consent rate was 36.8%, and the consent rate did not change significantly over the 7-year study period (P = 0.24). The most common reason for consent by family members was "the wish to help others" (86.0%), and the most common reason for refusal was "traditional Chinese culture to keep the body intact after death" (42.7%). From the multivariable analysis in the subset of cases from 2013 to 2014 (n = 628), family members were more likely to consent when the deceased was female (adjusted odds ratio 1.45, P = 0.03), with a do-not-resuscitate order (adjusted odds ratio 2.27, P < 0.001).
Conclusions: The consent rate for eye donation did not change significantly from 2008 to 2014. Our findings suggest that health education and promotion campaigns need to address cultural barriers to organ donation.