Kidney transplant rules may curb disparities

REUTERS  | Lisa Rapaport
(Reuters Health) - A shift in how donor kidneys are allocated in the U.S. has been linked with higher transplant rates for black and Hispanic patients, a recent study suggests. 

Kidney transplant is the preferred treatment for patients with end stage renal disease because it helps them live longer with a better quality of life and fewer hospitalizations than dialysis, the alternative. The primary factor the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) uses for allocating kidneys from deceased donors is how long patients have been waiting for organs.

Under the old UNOS system, waiting times were largely based on when people joined the waiting list for a kidney. In part to address long-standing racial and ethnic disparities in the old system, in 2014 UNOS started calculating wait times based either on when people joined the waiting list or when they began dialysis, whichever came first.

For the study, researchers examined data on 179,071 people on the kidney transplant waiting list from June 2013 to September 2016, including the 34,133 individuals who received organs. Continue reading

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