Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

National policy change reduces racial disparity in kidney transplants

Date:
August 2, 2011
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
A national transplant policy change designed to give African-American patients greater access to donor kidneys has sliced in half the racial disparities that have long characterized the allocation of lifesaving organs, new research suggests.

A national transplant policy change designed to give African-American patients greater access to donor kidneys has sliced in half the racial disparities that have long characterized the allocation of lifesaving organs, new Johns Hopkins research suggests.

Before 2003, the researchers note, an African-American patient who joined the kidney transplant list on the same day as a white patient would have a 37 percent smaller chance than a white counterpart of getting a transplant. In recent years, the researchers say, that percentage has dropped to 19.

The Hopkins researchers attribute the drop to a 2003 decision by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to a change in the relative priority given to tissue matching.

"This is probably the biggest step that the transplant community has taken in recent years to reduce disparities in access to kidney transplants for African-Americans and the good news is it worked extremely well," says transplant surgeon Dorry L. Segev, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the study published online in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases. "The bad news is, we still have a ways to go."

From the very beginning of widespread kidney transplants in the United States there has been a racial disparity in who received organs and who died before one became available.

A higher proportion of organ donors are white and a higher proportion of those needing kidneys are African-American. Matches across race are traditionally more difficult, as physicians have given priority to different types of immunologic compatibility, including whether the organ and the donor share the same Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA), proteins on the surface of white blood cells and other tissues in the body that can create organ rejection and other complications. African-Americans and whites typically aren't HLA matches, particularly one subtype known as HLA-B.

"HLA matching was prioritized under the premise that it would improve outcomes," Segev says. "But with advancements in immunosuppressants, HLA matching isn't as important as it once was. If you match by HLA, you might get only slightly better outcomes now. A miminal sacrifice in outcomes has meant a big gain in equity."

Although the new research from Segev and his colleagues found that the UNOS policy change had a profound effect on racial disparities in kidney transplant, the transplant gap remains. Previous research has shown that African-Americans have been at a disadvantage at every step of the kidney transplant process including the incidence and prevalence of kidney failure, referral for transplant evaluation, placement on the waiting list and obtaining a transplant once on the list.

Segev says research is needed into why there is still a disparity and how to ensure even more equitable access to lifesaving organs.

The study was funded in part by Health Resources and Services Administration.

Other Hopkins researchers involved in the research include Erin C. Hall, M.D.; Allan B. Massie, M.H.S.; Nathan T. James, Sc.M.; Jacqueline M. Garonzik Wang, M.D.; Robert A. Montgomery, M.D., D.Phil.; and Jonathan C. Berger, M.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "National policy change reduces racial disparity in kidney transplants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110802091045.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2011, August 2). National policy change reduces racial disparity in kidney transplants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110802091045.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "National policy change reduces racial disparity in kidney transplants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110802091045.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins