Black Kidney Donors More Likely to Be Related to Recipients

FRIDAY Oct. 28, 2011 -- A new study on living kidney donation finds that black donors are more likely to be related to their recipients than white donors are.

Understanding why such discrepancies exist could help reduce concerns about organ donation and assist in the development of specialized recruitment strategies for new donors, according to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, N.C.

"African Americans are overrepresented in the dialysis population and they are underrepresented among those who receive living donor kidney transplants, the best option for long-term treatment of kidney disease," lead study author Dr. Amber Reeves-Daniel, medical director of the center's Living Kidney Donor Program, said in a news release. "The more we can understand what contributes to people's willingness to donate one of their kidneys, the better job we can do of educating potential living donors about the need and allay fears about the risks."

In conducting the retrospective study, researchers analyzed the medical records of 73 black and 324 white living kidney donors. The investigators found the black donors more often donated to family members -- blood relatives as well as in-laws. Meanwhile, white donors were more likely to be unrelated to the recipients of their organs.

The study, published online in the September/October issue of the journal Clinical Transplantation, also showed that most black donors were men and younger than their white counterparts. They were also more likely to give a kidney to their parents but slightly less likely to donate to their children.

"Adult African American dialysis patients are typically younger than white dialysis patients and this may explain, in part, why African American children are more often able to donate to their parents," Reeves-Daniel said in the medical center release.

The study authors added that more research investigating the cultural differences and family dynamics in kidney donation could help target recruitment strategies to both black and white donors.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about kidney transplants.

Posted: October 2011


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