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Hong Kong Med J. 2016 Dec;22(6):570-5. Epub 2016 Oct 24.

Factors affecting the deceased organ donation rate in the Chinese community: an audit of hospital medical records in Hong Kong.

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Department of Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Jordan, Hong Kong.
Transplant Coordinating Service, Kowloon Central Cluster, Hospital Authority, Hong Kong.



The number of actual donors per million population is the most commonly used metric to measure organ donation rates worldwide. It is deemed inadequate, however, because it does not take into account the potential donor pool. The aim of this study was to determine the true potential for solid organ donation from deceased brain-dead donors and the reasons for non-donation from potential donors in the Chinese community.


Medical records of all hospital deaths between 1 January and 31 December 2014 at a large regional hospital in Hong Kong were reviewed. Those who were on mechanical ventilation with documented brain injury and aged ≤75 years were classified as possible organ donors. The reasons why some potential organ donors did not become utilised organ donors were recorded and evaluated.


Among 3659 patient deaths, 121 were classified as possible organ donors. The mean age of the possible organ donors was 59.4 years and 72.7% of them were male. The majority (88%) were from non-intensive care units. Of the 121 possible organ donors, 108 were classified as potential organ donors after excluding 13 unlikely to fulfil brain death criteria. Finally 11 patients became actual organ donors with an overall conversion rate of 10%. Reasons for non-donation included medical contra-indication (46%), failure to identify and inform organ donation coordinators (14%), failure of donor maintenance (11%), brain death diagnosis not established (18%), and refusal by relatives (11%).


It is possible to increase the organ donation rate considerably by action at different stages of the donation process. Ongoing accurate audit of current practice is necessary.


Attitude to death; Cadaver; Liver transplantation

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