A new study published in June shows that patients who are African American and awaiting a new organ are not as likely to receive one as a non-black patient is. At transplant centers around the country, of which there are 275, African Americans had a 35% lower change of getting a live kidney donation, said a doctor from John Hopkins University. At some of the centers, African Americans’ chances of getting an organ donation were as much as 76% lower.
The new study surveyed over 247,700 adults who were registered for kidney transplants for the first time during 1995 and 2007. Close to 92,000 people in the U.S. are waiting on a list for a kidney. Over 1/3 of them are African American. In 2011, living donor transplants reached 5,771 and only 813 were patients who were African American. Researchers said that African Americans have less odds of getting a living donor kidney transplant in every one of the transplant centers across the country.
Living donor transplants are those from a living person and are the best options for patients needing a transplant. A kidney received from someone living usually will start functioning right away. In some cases, a kidney donated by a deceased person may require the recipient to remain in the hospital on dialysis until the organ begins to function correctly.
The disparity racially may come from education levels, medical characteristics or economic factors. Researchers also believe that some of the transplant centers may also be focusing too much on deceased kidney transplants and not live ones. Medical conditions such as diabetes preclude people from being organ donors and diabetes is high among African Americans. Some say there is a lack of knowledge and support about how to donate a kidney, its risks and rewards, among African Americans.