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Hispanics and Asians less likely to receive liver transplants
Date:8/19/2010

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, both in Ann Arbor, have identified geographic variation as a key factor accounting for disparities in access to liver transplantation among racial and ethnic groups. Full details appear in the September issue of Liver Transplantation, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

Organ allocation in the U.S. is designed for equitable distribution of deceased donor organs. Patients are prioritized to receive organs for liver transplantation (LT) based on their Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) score, an objective assessment of their risk of dying on the waitlist. Hence, two candidates with similar MELD scores should have an equal chance of receiving a transplant regardless of race, gender, geography, or economics. However, there are multiple patient-specific as well as healthcare-specific barriers to LT that potentially compromise this system. Some of these variables include inadequate access to healthcare, lack of recognition of the need for transplant, access to a transplant center, and inequities in the transplant evaluation process.

While racial and ethnic disparities are evident throughout this entire process, the researchers found that the locale where candidates seek care for their liver disease modifies the effect of race/ethnicity on access to liver transplantation. Organ availability differs by region, and even within a region, the likelihood of LT varies among donor service areas (DSA). Local organ availability and center specific transplant practices may also play a role.

Amit K. Mathur, M.D., M.S., and colleagues propose that racial/ethnic disparity in access to transplantation at the DSA level must be evaluated because previous studies fail to acknowledge that organ availability is highly variable across DSAs, only evaluate African-Americans as a mi
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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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