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Transplant Proc. 2005 Mar;37(2):1081-4.

Decision-related factors and attitudes toward donation in living related liver transplantation: ten-year experience.

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  • 1Transplantation Team and Departments of Clinical Nursing and General Surgery, University of Ulsan Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.



Living related liver transplantation (LRLT) has been performed since 1994 in Korea; more than 600 donors have contributed to our successful LRLT program for 10 years. Although the decision to donate is difficult and the donors need a formal psychosocial assessment, no system has been available to us for the assessment. This survey was performed as a presurveillance for the development of a psychosocial assessment protocol.


A survey questionnaire included 31 questions on general and medical characteristics, factors, and processes related to the decision for donation. Donors of partial livers at least 6 months ago during the period from December 1994 to August 2003 and whose address could be confirmed by telephone were enrolled in the study.


A questionnaire was sent by mail to 441 contactable donors of whom 209 (47.4%) responded. Male-to-female ratio was 2:1 and mean age was 32.8 years (range: 16 to 60 years). The number of spousal donors was 120 (57.4%) and 164 (78.5%) donors were employed at the time of donation. Protestants, Buddhists, and Catholics were 29.2%, 19.1%, and 14.8%, respectively. Parents were the most common recipients (33.0%), followed by siblings (17.2%), extended family members (17.2%), and children (15.8%); one hundred eighty nine (90.4%) donors had decided by themselves, the major reason for donation in 192 (91.9%) donors was "to save the lives of family members and relatives." The first person who suggested donation was the donor (64.1%), followed by family members (23.9%) or the attending physicians (8.6%). Although 70.8% of donors answered that they were not hesitant to donate at the time of decision, 44.5% were uneasy at the possibility of being unable to sustain a normal life after donation, at their lack of knowledge on organ donation, and about the pain and fear of surgery. Family members and relatives (53.3%), medical personnel (46.7%), and previous donors (35.4%) were the preferable counselors compared to transplantation institutions and clergymen. The large majority (80.8%) of donors would encourage others to donate.


Although the decision to donate was made by the donors themselves in most cases and they appeared firm and determined about their decision, a significant number of donors felt uneasy about possible complications of organ donation and effects on their lives after donation. A precise and formal psychosocial assessment protocol is needed to support and secure their decision before and after donation.

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