More African-Americans Donate Kidneys to Family Members

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African Americans donate almost exclusively to family members for living kidney transplants, as compared to Caucasians.

African-Americans donate almost exclusively to family members for living kidney transplants, as compared to Caucasians, according to a study conducted at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

“African-Americans are overrepresented in the dialysis population and they are underrepresented among those who receive living donor kidney transplants, the best option for long-term treatment of kidney disease,” Amber Reeves-Daniel, DO, lead author of the study and medical director of the Living Kidney Donor Program at Wake Forest Baptist, said in a statement.

“The more we can understand what contributes to people’s willingness to donate one of their kidneys, the better job we can do of educating potential living donors about the need and allay fears about the risks.” The retrospective study was published in the online issue of the journal Clinical Transplantation.

The researchers compared the medical records of all former successful kidney donors at Wake Forest Baptist between 1991 and 2009. The study sample consisted of 73 African-American and 324 Caucasian living kidney donors.

The researchers found that African-American donors were more likely to be related to the transplant recipient than Caucasians. In addition, the study found that African-American donors were more likely to donate to their parents compared to Caucasians, and were slightly less likely to participate in parent-to-child donation. Caucasian donors were more likely to be unrelated to the recipient than African-American donors.

One of the most surprising findings was that the majority of African-American kidney donors were men and younger than the white donors, Reeves-Daniel said. “Adult African-American dialysis patients are typically younger than white dialysis patients and this may explain, in part, why African-American children are more often able to donate to their parents,” she said.

The researchers will conduct other studies that will explore cultural differences and family dynamics. These studies may provide targeted recruitment strategies for both African-American and Caucasian living kidney donors, Reeves-Daniel said. Unrelated living kidney transplantation appears to be a potential growth area for living kidney donation in African-Americans, she added.

SourceAfrican-Americans More Likely to Donate Kidney to Family Member [Wake Forest University]

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