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Racial Disparities Widespread in Kidney Patient Outcomes
Date:6/4/2008

Studies find mistrust, cultural barriers, segregation of care contribute to inequalities

WEDNESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- A range of biological, social and health care-related factors are responsible for the ethnic and racial disparities in results for U.S. patients with kidney disease, according to two new studies.

Previous research has shown that black and Hispanic kidney disease patients are more likely than white patients to develop kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplantation, according to background information in a news release about the studies.

A recently released U.S. government report said that black patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) account for 33 percent of all patients on the kidney transplant wait-list, even though blacks make up only 13 percent of the general population. Blacks with chronic kidney disease progress faster to ESRD than white patients and are much more likely to develop ESRD and to do so at an earlier age than whites.

Another federal government report said black patients with kidney disease are almost as likely as white patients to receive adequate dialysis, but the proportion of black patients registered on the kidney transplant wait-list is much lower than that of whites.

In one of the new studies, researchers identified a number of factors that play a role in these and other disparities: lack of patient trust; cultural and communication barriers; residential segregation that groups minorities in communities with lower quality health care; lower rates of insurance among minorities; and under-representation of minorities in clinical trials.

Health care providers can directly address some of these factors, said study authors Dr. Keith Norris of Charles R. Drew University in Lynwood, Calif., and Dr. Allen Nissenson of the University of California, Los Angeles.

"As a medical profession, we too frequently believe that many health issu
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