Poor knowledge regarding the concept of brain death and organ donation is the biggest hurdle in advancement of ‘deceased donor organ programme’, a Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) study has found.
Under the prorgamme, organs are harvested from brain-dead patients — a brain-dead is equivalent to a dead person and the condition is irreversible.
The study found that only 8.2% family members of brain-dead patients agreed for the organ donation when the study was conducted on them.
According to a study published in a medical journal, Transplant International, it has been found that the poor conversion rate of brain-dead patients into organ donors is a big problem.
During the study over a period of six months, the PGIMER doctors identified and followed 80 brain-dead patients. All these patients were those who required artificial ventilation with no signs of respiratory activity.
The average age of these patients were 35.9 years. Out of them, 67.5% were men. The study found that when the research team formally asked for consent for organ donation, 41patients’ relatives refused at the very beginning. However, the final conversion rate was only 8.2%. “The poor conversion rate suggests a huge potential for improvement. Family refusal in majority of cases reflects poor knowledge and thus warrants interventions at community level,”the study observed.
The study also observed that the deceased donor organ programme is still in infancy in India.
Assessing deceased donation potential and identifying barriers to its utilisation are required to meet needs of patients with organ failure.
According to experts, India has one of the lowest rates of organ donation. Even PGIMER experts deliberated some time back that in India, a large number of roadside accidents occur every day and many of these patients unfortunately suffer head injuries and become brain-dead, but only a few families give consent to donate organs of their kin.
The deceased donor organ donation programme was started at the PGIMER in 2008. Brain death is a rare phenomenon occurring in about one in 200 hospital deaths.