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BACKGROUND: A major problem in the field of transplantation is the persistent shortage of donor organs and tissues for transplantation. This study was initiated to (1) chart the donor potential for organs and tissue in The Netherlands and (2) to identify factors influencing whether donation is discussed with next of kin. METHODS: A registration form was constructed to obtain information at time of death of patients about the demographic characteristics, diagnosis, and medical suitability for donation. A prospective study was conducted among 11 hospitals in The Netherlands that gathered 4,877 filled-in forms equaling 8% to 10% of the people dying in a hospital in The Netherlands per year. RESULTS: In the year of the study, organs were retrieved from 22 donors and tissues from 264 donors in the 11 hospitals. The organ potential is estimated at a maximum of 38.7 per million population per year. A mere 5% of the physicians got a 100% score on criteria and contraindications for donation. Factors of influence on receiving consent for donation were the will of the donor, using a protocol, giving verbal information to the relatives, and presence of the partner of the deceased patient. For 26% of the potential tissue donors and 69% of the potential organ donors, donation was discussed with the relatives. Consent for tissue donation was obtained in 27%, and consent for organ donation was obtained in 60%. CONCLUSIONS: In The Netherlands, when taking into account current refusal percentages, 320 to 360 organ donations and 5,800 tissue donations could be effectuated if organ donation is posed to all possible donors. For this, knowledge of medical criteria and contraindications for donation by the physicians and their willingness to discuss donation with next of kin must be improved.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





948 - 955


Age Distribution, Attitude of Health Personnel, Attitude to Death, Family, Female, Hospitals, Humans, Male, Multivariate Analysis, Netherlands, Physicians, Referral and Consultation, Tissue Donors, Treatment Refusal