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Attitudes of the American Public toward Organ Donation after Uncontrolled (Sudden) Cardiac Death

Publication Abstract

Volk, M.L., G.J. Warren, R.R. Anspach, Mick P. Couper, R.M. Merion, and P.A. Ubel. 2010. "Attitudes of the American Public toward Organ Donation after Uncontrolled (Sudden) Cardiac Death." American Journal of Transplantation, 10(3): 675-680.

Concerns about public support for organ donation after cardiac death have hindered expansion of this practice, particularly rapid organ recovery in the context of uncontrolled (sudden) cardiac death (uDCD). A nationally representative Internet-based panel was provided scenarios describing donation in the context of brain death, controlled cardiac death and uncontrolled cardiac death. Participants were randomized to receive questions about trust in the medical system before or after the rapid organ recovery scenario. Among 1631 panelists, 1049 (64%) completed the survey. Participants expressed slightly more willingness to donate in the context of controlled and uncontrolled cardiac death than after brain death (70% and 69% vs. 66%, respectively, p < 0.01). Eighty percent of subjects (95% CI 77-84%) would support having a rapid organ recovery program in their community, though 83% would require family consent or a signed donor card prior to invasive procedures for organ preservation. The idea of uDCD slightly decreased trust in the medical system from 59% expressing trust to 51% (p = 0.02), but did not increase belief that a signed donor card would interfere with medical care (28% vs. 32%, p = 0.37). These findings provide support for the careful expansion of uDCD, albeit with formal consent prior to organ preservation.

DOI:10.1111/j.1600-6143.2009.02971.x (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States.

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