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Xenotransplantation. 2015 Nov-Dec;22(6):476-86. doi: 10.1111/xen.12208. Epub 2015 Nov 25.

The level of acceptance of spanish medical students of the transplantation of solid organs from animals: a stratified and multicentre study.

Author information

  • 1International Collaborative Donor Project ("Proyecto Colaborativo Internacional Donante"), Murcia, Spain.
  • 2Department of Surgery, Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain.
  • 3Transplant Unit, Surgery Service, IMIB - Virgen de la Arrixaca University Hospital, Murcia, Spain.
  • 4Regional Transplant Centre, Consejería de Sanidad y Consumo de la Región de Murcia, Murcia, Spain.
  • 5Department of Psychology, Universidad Católica San Antonio (UCAM), Murcia, Spain.
  • 6Department of Urology, San Juan University Hospital of Alicante, Alicante, Spain.
  • 7Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain.
  • 8Universidad de Navarra, Navarra, Spain.
  • 9Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
  • 10Servicio de Cirugía HBP y Trasplante Hepático, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Badajoz, Hospital Infanta Cristina, Badajoz, Spain.
  • 11Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain.
  • 12Departamento de Cirugía, Ciencias Médicas y Sociales, Facultad de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Alcalá Campus Científico-Tecnológico, Alcala de Henares, Madrid, Spain.
  • 13Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Málaga, Málaga, Spain.
  • 14Servicio de Urología (Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Canarias, CHUC) y Departamento de Cirugía (Universidad de La Laguna, ULL) San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain.
  • 15Departamento de Ciencias Biomédicas Básicas, Facultad de Ciencias Biomédicas, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
  • 16Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain.
  • 17Facultad de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud, Área de Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública, Universidad de Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain.
  • 18Departamento de Farmacología y Fisiología Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud y del Deporte, Universidad de Zaragoza, Huesca, Spain.
  • 19Universidad de las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.
  • 20Universidad de Castilla La Mancha, Albacete, Spain.
  • 21Department of Immunology, Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain.
  • 22Endocrinology and Nutrition Service, Unidad de Docencia y Formación Continuada, Hospital Clínico Universitario Virgen de la Arrixaca, El Palmar, Servicio Murciano de Salud, El Palmar, Spain.
  • 23Hospital Regional de Alta Especialidad del Bajío, León, Mexico.
  • 24HGSZ No. 10 del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social Delegación Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico.
  • 25Faculty of Veterinary, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain.



Research into the transplantation of solid organs from animals (xenotransplantation) is generating interest and curiosity given that this could be a way of resolving the shortage in transplant organs. However, the fact is that currently xenotransplantation is far from becoming a clinical practice.


To analyse the attitude of medical students from Spanish universities towards the donation of organs from animals and to determine the factors affecting their attitudes.



A sociological, interdisciplinary, observational and multicentre study in Spain.


Students enrolled on the medical degree in Spain (n = 34 000).


A sample of 9598 students (a confidence level of 99% and precision of ± 1%) stratified by geographical area and academic year. Instrument of measurement: A validated questionnaire of attitude towards organ xenotransplantation (PCID-XenoTx RIOS) which was self-administered and completed anonymously.


A completion rate of 95.7% (n = 9275) was obtained. If the results of xenotransplantation were as good as in human donation, 81% (n = 7491) would be in favour, 3% (n = 308) against and 16% (n = 1476) undecided. The following variables affected this attitude: sex (P < 0.001); academic year (P < 0.001); discussion of transplantation with one's family (P < 0.001) and friends (P < 0.001); the opinion of one's partner (P < 0.001); the respondent's attitude towards organ donation (P < 0.001); religion (P < 0.001); and participation in altruistic activities (P < 0.001). The following variables persisted in the multivariate analysis: (1) being a female (OR = 1.794; P < 0.001); (2) academic year (OR = 2.487; P < 0.001); (3) having spoken about the issue with one's family (OR = 1.200; P = 0.019); (4) the favourable opinion of one's partner (OR = 1.526; P = 0.028); (5) an attitude in favour of donation (OR = 2.087; P < 0.001); (6) being an atheist/agnostic, (OR = 2.5; P < 0.001); and (7) a belief that one's religion is in favour of transplantation (OR = 1.317; P = 0.005).


Spanish medical students have a favourable attitude towards xenotransplantation. This willingness and interest could be a decisive platform for the development and strengthening of research, both for centres with a pre-clinical xenotransplantation programme and new healthcare centres.


Spain; attitude; medical students; organ donation; psycho-social variables; transplant; university; xenotransplantation

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