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Racial Gap Seen in Survival Among Kidney Dialysis Patients

THURSDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Among kidney dialysis patients, Hispanics tend to live longer than blacks and whites, a new study finds.

Learning the reasons for these racial differences could help improve care for all kidney disease patients, the investigators said.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 1.3 million adults who underwent dialysis between 1995 and 2009. Over an average follow-up of 22 months, Hispanics were least likely to die and whites were most likely to die. Black patients were in between.

This pattern was seen in all age groups, except among the youngest patients (ages 18 to 30), where blacks were more likely to die than whites, according to the study appearing online March 28 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

The longer survival time associated with race "is one of the unresolved issues that has been around for some time and is of interest to health care providers, patients and public policy," study author Guofen Yan, at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, said in a journal news release.

A number of theories exist as to why Hispanic and black dialysis patients tend to live longer than whites. It may be that Hispanic and black patients are more likely to die before they develop kidney failure, and those who survive are generally healthier and thus more likely to live longer than white patients, the researchers suggested.

"Examining dialysis survival among racial and ethnic subgroups may help identify care disparities and outcome differences in chronic kidney disease. Continued effort to discern the factors responsible for the general survival advantage of black and Hispanic dialysis patients may yield major clinical and public health implications for the kidney failure and kidney disease populations," Yan said.

In 2010, there were about 410,000 dialysis patients in the United States, the study authors noted in the news release.

More information

The National Kidney Foundation has more about dialysis.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, news release, March 28, 2013

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