Young African Americans more likely to die on dialysis

September 8, 2011

It was long thought in the medical community that African Americans do better on dialysis than Caucasians. Because of the prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure among African Americans, the majorityof those on dialysis in the U.S. are black.

But a study out of Johns Hopkins University finds that just the opposite of what doctors thought appears to be true, especially among young people. Young  African Americans age 18 – 30 are twice as likely as whites of the same age to die while on dialysis.

This could lead to a change in who is referred for kidney transplant, the researchers think. Currently, whites tend to be referred more frequently.

The researchers say that young black people with kidney failure need to be educated that transplant is likely to be a much better option than dialysis. Also, they say, doctors need to start referring more young African Americans for transplant.

Washington University research Amy Waterman, PhD, approached the problem of educating people on dialysis about their options, including transplant, by developing a program called “Explore Transplant.”

You can learn about that program by listening to this podcast:

-Kathryn Holleman


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