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Physicians more likely to be Registered Organ Donors

Update Date: Jul 15, 2014 04:03 PM EDT

According to a new study, physicians are more likely than people from the general public to be registered organ donors. The researchers stated that the rate of organ donor registration, at less than 40 percent in countries with registries, have to increase in order to save more lives.

"One common fear is that physicians will not take all measures to save the life of a registered citizen at a time of illness. Showing that many physicians are registered for organ donation themselves could help dispel this myth. Although most physicians in surveys support organ donation, whether they are actually registered remains unknown," the researchers wrote reported in a press release.

For this study, the researchers headed by Alvin Ho-ting Li, B.H.Sc., of Western University, London, Ontario, Canada examined three sets of data. The first set included 15,233 physicians, the second set involved 10,866,752 people from the general public and the last one recruited 60,932 matched citizens. Matched citizens were people from the public that had similar backgrounds to the physicians, such as age, sex, income and neighborhood.

The researchers calculated that 43.3 percent of physicians, or 6,596, were registered organ donors. This rate is high relative to the rates in the other two groups, which were 29.5 percent in the matched citizens group and 23.9 percent in the general public group. When the researchers compared the groups, they calculated that physicians were 47 percent more likely to register than matched citizens were. Within the physicians group, factors that increased likelihood of registration were being female and young.

The researchers noted that understanding why people do not register could help them create new programs that encourage donor registration. For example, if more people see that their physicians are registered, they might be more likely to register as well.

The study was published in JAMA.

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