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List- Disparities in Kidney Transplant
Newswise — You might expect that living
close to a clinic that specializes in
transplanting organs would put you at an
advantage if you needed a new kidney.
According to an upcoming study in the
Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN),
you would be wrong.
The study found that distance from a
patient’s home to the nearest transplant
facility has no bearing on whether an
individual is placed on the transplant
However, the research identified other
factors associated with disparities in
waitlisting, including neighborhood poverty.
Access to kidney transplants is not equal
for all patients, particularly when
comparing patients of different races.
To understand this disparity, Rachel Patzer,
MPH, Sandra Amaral, MD, and their colleagues
at Emory University in Atlanta analyzed data
from 1998 to 2002 of 35,346 patients in
Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina
who had end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
They found that black patients were less
likely than whites to be placed on the
kidney transplant waiting list, and this
disparity was not associated with the
distance to the nearest transplant center.
They also found that as neighborhood poverty
increased, the likelihood of being placed on
the waiting list decreased for blacks
compared with whites.
“We found the most striking disparity in the
poorest neighborhoods, where blacks were 57%
less likely to be waitlisted for
transplantation than whites,” said Patzer.
The researchers offer several potential
explanations for these racial disparities.
Social, behavioral, cultural, and biologic
factors may play a role, as could patient
preferences (black patients have been shown
to be less likely to want a transplant).
“Exploring the role of these factors in the
observed racial differences in waitlisting
outcomes is important in developing
effective solutions for improving equality
in access to healthcare,” said senior author
William McClellan, MD.
Dr. Amaral adds, “Our study suggests that
poverty also needs to be considered as an
influential factor in these racial
future interventions that reach out to
poorer communities may be one approach to
mitigate racial disparity in
The authors report no financial disclosures.
The article, entitled “Neighborhood Poverty
and Racial Disparities in Kidney Transplant
Waitlisting,” will appear online at
Wednesday, April 1, 2009, doi
Founded in 1966, the American Society of
Nephrology (ASN) is the world’s largest
professional society devoted to the study of
Comprised of 11,000 physicians and
scientists, ASN continues to promote expert
patient care, to advance medical research,
and to educate the renal community.
ASN also informs policymakers about issues
of importance to kidney doctors and their
ASN funds research, and through its
world-renowned meetings and first-class
publications, disseminates information and
educational tools that empower physicians