Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered that, contrary to long-held beliefs, not all African American dialysis patients fare as well as their white counterparts. After studying 1.3 million ESRD patients, they found that young African Americans under 50 actually do much worse. The news comes as a surprise because earlier studies had never analyzed outcomes based on age. The new study shows that African Americans over 50 still do have a slight advantage over white patients. However, according to Johns Hopkins, African Americans “…between the ages of 18 and 30 are twice as likely to die on dialysis than their white counterparts; and those ages 31 to 40 are 1.5 times as likely to die.” The researchers believe that the disparity could be due to a lack of access to healthcare or poor healthcare in the early stages of CKD, or perhaps a physiological reason involving high blood pressure, which is very common in the African American community. They hope that this study will change the way young African American patients are counseled regarding the importance of transplantation and that it will lead to more kidney transplants for these patients.
Conventional Wisdom Unwise: Study Shows Young Black Patients on Kidney Dialysis Do Much Worse—Not Better—Than White Counterparts, Johns Hopkins Medicine, August 9, 2011