How Chinese clinicians face ethical and social challenges in fecal microbiota transplantation: a questionnaire study

BMC Medical Ethics 18 (1):39 (2017)

Fecal microbiota transplantation is reportedly the most effective therapy for relapsing Clostridium Difficile infection and a potential therapeutic option for many diseases. It also poses important ethical concerns. This study is an attempt to assess clinicians’ perception and attitudes towards ethical and social challenges raised by fecal microbiota transplantation. A questionnaire was developed which consisted of 20 items: four items covered general aspects, nine were about ethical aspects such as informed consent and privacy issues, four concerned social and regulatory issues, and three were about an FMT bank. This was distributed to participants at the Second China gastroenterology and FMT conference in May 2015. Basic descriptive statistical analyses and simple comparative statistical tests were performed. Nearly three quarters of the 100 respondents were gastro-enterologist physicians. 89% of all respondents believed FMT is a promising treatment modality for some diseases and 88% of whom chose clinical efficacy as the primary reason for recommending FMT. High expectation from patients and pressure on clinicians was reported as the most frequent reasons for not recommending FMT. The clinicians who had less familiarity with FMT reported significantly more worry related to the dignity and psychological impact of FMT compared to those who have high familiarity with FMT.More than half of the respondents were concerned about the commercialization of FMT, although almost one in five respondents did not see this as a problem. We found most respondents have positive attitudes towards FMT but low awareness of published evidence. Informed consent for vulnerable patients, privacy and protection of donors were perceived as the most challenging ethical aspects of FMT. This study identified areas of limited knowledge and ways of addressing ethical issues and indicates the need to devise the education and training for clinicians on FMT.
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DOI 10.1186/s12910-017-0200-2
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Are We Ready for a “Microbiome-Guided Behaviour” Approach?Andrea Lavazza & Vittorio A. Sironi - 2019 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 28 (4):708-724.

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