Introduction: Organ transplantation is the treatment of choice for some diseases. However, the need for cadaveric organ donation has either plateaued or is on a decreasing trend in some countries, especially in developed ones. In this study, we aimed to identify the barriers to organ donation in brain dead patients, who were referred to the organ procurement organizations (OPO) in northeast Iran.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study during 2006 to 2013, data were collected from medical records of brain dead patients. Demographic information, cause of brain death, the process of obtaining informed consent, and the reasons for declining organ donation were obtained from the OPO records. The data were analyzed using chi-square test by SPSS 13 software. 

Results: Of 1034 brain dead patients, 751 cases (72.6%) were eligible for organ donation, and, ultimately, 344 cases underwent organ donation. The rate of organ donation increased during the course of the study; medical and legal reasons as well as family refusal to authorize donation were the main barriers to the process. 

Conclusion: Based on the pattern of mortality, the need for living donors in developing countries, such as Iran and other countries in the Mediterranean region, can be reduced by improving the quality of healthcare, efficient identification of brain death, and obtaining consent with appropriate strategies.


Keywords: Brain death, Organ donation, Organ transplant
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