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Open Access Research article

A survey of medical students to assess their exposure to and knowledge of renal transplantation

Anusha G Edwards*, Andrew R Weale and Justin D Morgan

Author Affiliations

Department of General Surgery, Southmead Hospital, Westbury on Trym, Bristol BS10 5NB, UK

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BMC Medical Education 2004, 4:32  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-4-32

Published: 23 December 2004



Within the field of renal transplantation there is a lack of qualified and trainee surgeons and a shortage of donated organs. Any steps to tackle these issues should, in part, be aimed at future doctors.


A questionnaire was distributed to final year students at a single medical school in the UK to assess their exposure to and knowledge of renal transplantation.


Although 46% of responding students had examined a transplant recipient, only 14% had ever witnessed the surgery. Worryingly, 9% of students believed that xenotransplantation commonly occurs in the UK and 35% were unable to name a single drug that a recipient may need to take.


This survey demonstrates a lack of exposure to, and knowledge of, the field of renal transplantation. Recommendations to address the problems with the recruitment of surgeons and donation of organs, by targeting medical students are made.