Session Time: 3:15pm-4:00pm
Presentation Time: 3:30pm-4:00pm
*Purpose: Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation (VCA) involves transplantation of multiple tissues (e.g., skin, muscle, bone, nerves, blood vessels, etc.) as a structural unit from a donor to a recipient. VCA organs include hands, face, larynx, abdominal wall, uterus, and penis. Little is known about the public’s understanding of VCA. Prior research found that the public may be less willing to donate VCA organs compared to other solid organs but has not examined the reasons for such reticence in depth. This qualitative study assessed the public’s understanding of and informational needs about VCA.
*Methods: We conducted focus groups (n=6 groups, n=41 participants) with members of the general public in two geographically distinct metropolitan cities. Focus groups assessed participants’ awareness of and attitudes about VCA, information needs about VCA, willingness to be a VCA donor, and willingness to authorize VCA donation. We analyzed focus group transcriptions using thematic analysis.
*Results: Many participants had not heard of and were unaware of VCA prior to the focus group. Commonly shared information needs pertained to: whether deceased or living people can donate VCA organs, which types of injuries could be treated by VCA, and the success rate. Participants expressed varying attitudes toward VCA, with some being more comfortable donating solid organs (e.g., kidneys) than VCA organs given their “ick factor,” while others felt more comfortable donating hands than the face, uterus, or penis. Commonly shared concerns included: religious concerns over holding an open casket funeral for VCA donors missing a face or hand, uncertainty over whether family members will be comfortable authorizing a VCA donation, and fear that VCA will lead to the creation of “Frankenstein” or “cyborg” bodies that push the boundaries of “normality.” A major theme was that it would take time for VCA to become “normalized” for the public to feel comfortable with it.
*Conclusions: The public lacked knowledge and held misperceptions about VCA. Public education is needed to address information needs and concerns so that the public is better prepared to become donors or authorize donation.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Sung H, Ferzola A, Uriarte J, Anderson N, Cooney C, Brandacher G, Gordon E, Henderson M. Public Information Needs about VCA Donation and Transplantation in the United States [abstract]. Am J Transplant. 2020; 20 (suppl 3). https://atcmeetingabstracts.com/abstract/public-information-needs-about-vca-donation-and-transplantation-in-the-united-states/. Accessed September 23, 2021.
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