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Networking May Aid Blacks Who Need Kidney Transplant

Survey finds that active role by patients doubled their odds of success

FRIDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- Social and medical networking can improve the chances that blacks who have kidney failure will acquire a new kidney, a survey has found.

"Research overwhelmingly indicates that African-Americans are less likely to successfully get kidney transplants, even allowing for differences in socioeconomic and insurance status and patient preference," Teri Browne, of the University of South Carolina, said in a National Kidney Foundation news release.

The survey, by Browne and colleagues, found that more than 90 percent of the 228 blacks with kidney failure who were surveyed wanted a transplant and had insurance that would pay for the procedure. But those who gathered information from dialysis teams and social networks were nearly twice as likely to get an appointment at a transplant center, which improves the likelihood of their being placed on the transplant list.

The study was to be presented at the Kidney Foundation's spring clinical meetings, in Nashville, Tenn.

"In regards to kidney transplant, an effective social network is made up of people who have had a kidney transplant themselves or know of someone who did," Browne said. "That way, they have information about how to get one. We know that getting a transplant is not an easy process and requires much follow-up on the patient's part and may be confusing."

Browne said that because rules from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stipulate that dialysis centers must have interdisciplinary teams in place for every patient, "social workers and other team members can incorporate relevant interventions to help patients remove barriers to getting a kidney transplant."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about kidney transplant.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: National Kidney Foundation, news release, March 26, 2009

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