African American or Older Kidney Transplant Candidates Have Slimmer Chances of Receiving Living Donor Organs

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LIVINGSTON — For patients with severe chronic kidney disease, the best treatment option is usually a kidney transplant from a living donor. Unfortunately, African American and older patients are much less likely than patients of other races or ages to receive kidney transplants from living donors.

A recent study by Francis Weng, MD, a nephrologist with The Renal and Pancreas Transplant Program at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, and his colleagues found that African American or older kidney transplant candidates were less likely to have friends or family members contact their transplant center to volunteer as possible living kidney donors. Furthermore, African American or older kidney transplant candidates who did have potential living donors were still less likely to receive living donor kidney transplants.

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Dr. Weng and his colleagues studied 1,617 kidney transplant candidates, 791 (48.9%) of whom recruited at least one potential living donor and 452 (28.0%) of whom received living donor kidney transplants. Compared with candidates of other races, African American transplant candidates were less likely to receive living kidney donor transplants (20.5% versus 30.6%), recruit potential living donors (43.9% versus 50.7%), and receive living kidney donor transplants if they had potential donors (46.8% versus 60.3%). Compared with those younger than 40 years of age, transplant candidates 60 years of age and older were less likely to receive living donor kidney transplants (15.1% versus 43.2%), recruit potential living donors (34.0% versus 64.6%), and receive living donor kidney transplants if they had potential donors (44.5% versus 66.8%).

“Barriers at both these steps in the living donor process contribute to the lower rates of living donor kidney transplant among African American or older patients,” said Dr. Weng.  “Further research will help determine ways to increase access to living donor kidney transplant among African American or older patients.”

The article, entitled “Barriers to Living Donor Kidney Transplantation among Black or Older Transplant Candidates,” appears on the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology’s website at http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/.


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