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The level of knowledge regarding the concept of brain death among undergraduates at the Universitat de Lleida
INTRODUCTION. Brain death is a death situation which is diagnosed by means of neurological criteria and is the ideal situation for organ donation, as, thanks to intensive care, the organs maintain their viability. Very few studies have analysed the knowledge that the population has about this situation.
AIM. To determine how much university students know about brain death by comparing the results between undergraduates pursuing a degree in medicine and those on other bachelors degree courses.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS. A closed on-line survey was administered to undergraduate students at the Universitat de Lleida about their knowledge regarding the concept of brain death, donor legislation and willingness to donate.
RESULTS. The survey was answered by a total of 488 people, 192 (39.3%) from the degree in medicine. Only 164 (33.6%) were males. The mean age was 22.1 ± 4.4 years. Only 63 (12.9%) respondents defined brain death as death. While 19.1% replied correctly to the question about organ donation legislation, 79.7% said they would be willing to donate their organs. The level of knowledge was significantly higher in the later courses of the degree in medicine, although there was still plenty of room for improvement in this respect. Only 31.7% of sixth-year students had a good idea of the concept of brain death. CONCLUSION. The extent of knowledge about brain death and legislation on organ donation is poor among university students, even in the degree in medicine. It would be advisable to design strategies aimed at improving this knowledge, especially among future healthcare professionals.Brain deathDonor legislationDonor willingness