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Public knowledge on brain death and organ donation in Sri Lanka

Authors:

Dilshan Priyankara ,

National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, LK
About Dilshan
Consultant, Critical Care Medicine
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Makarim Mohamed,

National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, LK
About Makarim
Senior registrar, Critical Care Medicine
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Krishakeesen Kamalanthan,

National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, LK
About Krishakeesen
Senior registrar, Critical Care Medicine
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Edirisooriya Maddumage Manoj

National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, LK
About Edirisooriya Maddumage
Consultant, Critical Care Medicine
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Abstract

Introduction: Brain death is defined as irreversible and complete cessation of the functions of the brain and brain stem. The awareness of brain death and organ donation is still questionable among the public and the data on this aspect is lacking in Sri Lanka.


Objective: To assess public knowledge on brain death and organ donation in Sri Lanka.


Methods: 2 public surveys were performed using two questionnaires during two consecutive medical exhibitions held at Colombo during 2017 and 2018. People less than 16 years of age were excluded. No ethical approval was required, and participation was entirely voluntary with responses kept anonymised.


Results: A total of 179 and 203 participants answered the questionnaire in survey 1 and 2 respectively. More than 80% of participants have heard of brain death. From the participants, 175 (97.8%) knew donating organs can save lives and 162 (90.5%) were willing to carry an organ donor card and expressed a desire to donate organs. Furthermore, 19% of the participants had at least one relative who has donated organs. Only 78 (43.5%) knew that all the listed organs (eye, kidney, liver, lung, heart, pancreas) could be donated.


Only 88 (43.3%) knew brain death is considered legal as an individual’s death in Sri Lanka. Interestingly, 24 (11.5%) and 44 (21.7%) said ‘yes’ or ‘don’t know’ to the question on the possibility of returning to life in people with brain death respectively.

Conclusion: This shows the need of education programmes, information campaigns and public media on this aspect.

How to Cite: Priyankara, D., Mohamed, M., Kamalanthan, K. and Manoj, E.M., 2019. Public knowledge on brain death and organ donation in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan Journal of Anaesthesiology, 27(2), pp.157–159. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/slja.v27i2.8446
Published on 25 Jul 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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