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African Americans Disproportionately Receiving Fewer Kidneys

While African Americans are diagnosed with kidney disease at a rate higher than white people, they are less likely to be referred for kidney transplants, placed on a waiting list, and to get kidneys once on the list. All of that means that African American are spending more time on dialysis, which is associated with higher death rates and lower quality of life. There are some explanations for the discrepancy, like the matching system for donors and patients. That system seeks matched based on tissue types, decreasing chances of rejection of the organ; African American people are more likely to be compatible with another person of the same race and a smaller percentage of donors are African American. A serious issue adding to the gap between the races in that physicians may be less likely to refer an African American patient to be evaluated for a transplant. This can cause a delay in receiving a much-needed transplant, which is serious. One study showed that this could be caused by a belief by doctors that African Americans are less likely to have their survival odds improved by a transplant. The reason for this belief is not clear. Read more here.