Young African-Americans do much worse on kidney dialysis than their white counterparts, and many more should be referred for transplants rather than staying on the blood-filtering process indefinitely, according to a new study.
The study by Johns Hopkins researchers, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is a reversal of past belief.
Those studies, however, weren’t accounting for age. Blacks older than 50 do still have a slightly better outcome on dialysis when they have end-stage kidney disease, the researchers said.
“As a medical community, we have been advising young black patients of treatment options for kidney failure based on the notion that they do better on dialysis than their white counterparts,” study leader Dorry L. Segev, an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins, said in a statement. “This new study shows that, actually, young blacks have a substantially higher risk of dying on dialysis, and we should instead be counseling them based on this surprising new evidence.”
Researchers looked at 1.3 million patients and found black patients between ages 18 to 30 were twice as likely to die on dialysis as white patients. Those ages 31 to 40 were 1.5 times as likely to die.
Yet, of the 18- to 30-year-old black patients, 32 were referred for transplants from 1995 to 2009 while 55 percent of white patients were referred for transplants.