Background Unlike organ donation, most people are eligible to donate their corneas when they die. The organ tissue donation and transplantation activity report 2021–2022 demonstrated an increase of 27% in the number of corneas retrieved, however, there remains a significant shortage. The NHS Blood and Transplant for 2021/22 highlighted that almost 1 in 10 people who joined the organ donation register, opted out of corneal donation. However, encouragingly, when people were educated on the benefits, 51% of people who initially said that they would be least likely to donate their corneas, said that they would be willing to donate.
Methods Between the 01/01/21 to 31/03/21 87 patients were admitted to a specialist adult inpatient palliative care unit. 60 patients were identified as potentially eligible for corneal donation after death with the remaining 27 ineligible. Data was collected on the frequency of discussions, the timing of discussion and which health care professional (HCP) led the discussion. The overall outcomes were also analysed.
Results Within the group of eligible patients, in 67% there was no documentation regarding this discussion nor any reason for this not being discussed. Discussions commonly occurred after death (45%) and were undertaken by staff of various disciplines. Of the 18 eligible patients with whom donation was discussed, 10 patients expressed a wish to donate their corneas after death and 9 went on to have a successful harvesting.
Conclusion Compared to previous data the number of successful corneal donations has increased but there is still significant room for improvement. An increase in knowledge and awareness can change public attitude towards corneal donation, therefore we should be aiming to make all eligible patients aware. Targeted education for HCP surrounding corneal donation will increase confidence and proactivity around discussion. This should help address the current national shortage of corneal donors.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.