Minorities Wait for Kidney Transplants


NASHVILLE, TN — Contradicting fears and myths about kidney transplants is critical for Dr. Clarence Foster, Surgical Director of Organ Transplant for TriStar Centennial Medical Center.

“Moving here gives me a chance to educate and give back to the African American community and encourage organ donation so my transplant patients get the best possible match.”

Because of complications of hypertension and diabetes, African Americans suffer a higher rate of kidney disease which requires dialysis or a transplant. In the past, recipients for a donor kidney were ranked by six criteria that made it harder for African Americans to qualify. Dr. Foster says those criteria have changed for a more equitable assessment.

Patients on dialysis for years now move up the list when they qualify for a transplant. Now, those years on dialysis are counted and move the patient up the list.

Transplant specialists prefer to match organs like kidneys within the same racial or ethnic group to ensure a close match. This is due to similarities of blood types within those groups. Also, African Americans are more sensitized to transplanted organs and have a metabolism that may require different doses of some medications according to Dr. Foster. Continue reading