Community perceptions and attitudes towards xenotransplantation in preparation for clinical trials
Luz Padilla1, Daniel Hurst4, David Pollio3, Lindsey Atkins3, David K. Cooper1, Wayne Paris2.
1Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, United States; 2Social Work, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX, United States; 3Social Work, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, United States; 4Family Medicine, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Stratford, NJ, United States
Introduction: The following study reports the focus group perspectives of potential patients, political, business, theological, medical staff, and the lay public as part of the program’s assessment and planning, to determine the level of community agreement to the need for and willingness to consider Xenotransplantation (XTx) as a viable treatment option to help reduce the number of patients who die while awaiting a donor organ.
Methods: Five focus groups drawn from a representative sample population were conducted (n=27). All groups used a semi-structured protocol, were transcribed, and participant passages identified (N=348). Themes were identified and interpreted by study personnel including experienced qualitative researchers and experts in XTx, interrater reliability was established (Kappa .71-.93).
Results: Initial analysis identified six themes: 1) the pig as an animal, 2) social concerns around XTx, 3) factors related to the decision to accept XTx, 4) knowledge about transplantation in humans from animals, 5) religious/theological concerns, and 6) patient characteristics and XTx. Pig-to-human transplantation was generally viewed as acceptable, although preference for human hearts remained relatively prevalent. Discomfort with the stereotypic image of pig was common, frequently involving use of humor around the pig as food.
Implications: Overall, the findings suggest that the concept of pig-to-human transplantation is relatively acceptable to the various stakeholders, although discomfort with stereotypes of pigs and preference for human hearts remains in the absence of documented human results. A complete qualitative analysis of the overall and individual group thematic responses will be presented.
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