L Roels and J De Meester,
Journal of transplant coordination : official publication of the North American Transplant Coordinators Organization (NATCO), Dec 1996
A country's organ donation rate and hence the availability of thoracic organs can be increased by organizational measures, by legislative incentives, and by increasing awareness among the public and healthcare professionals. We analyzed the relative impact of organ procurement legislation or policy on heart and lung donation rates per million population per year in the four countries participating in the Eurotransplant organization (population, 112.7 million) between January 1992 and December 1994. Within this organization, Austria and Belgium have presumed-consent legislation, whereas Germany and the Netherlands have an opting-in (explicit-consent) policy. Although practices vary even among countries with similar policies (eg. in Belgium, relatives of the donor retain the right to object to procurement of organs in the absence of an explicit consent from the deceased before death), rates of heart and lung donation were at least twice as high in the two countries with presumed-consent legislation as in the two countries that rely on a policy of explicit consent from the donor's next of kin.