In the United States, Hispanics with kidney failure are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to receive a kidney transplant largely due to their blood type and because of where they live, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Hispanics represent the largest minority group in the United States and have an increased risk for developing kidney failure compared with non-Hispanic whites, according to back ground information in the study. Prior studies have shown that Hispanics were less likely to be placed on the transplant waiting list, experienced longer waiting times, or were less likely to receive a kidney transplant compared with non-Hispanic whites.

(Study finds racial and social disparities in kidney allocation among young transplant recipients

Cristina Maria Arce, MD, (now at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center) and her former colleagues at Stanford University School of Medicine sought to study these issues further by analyzing data from the United States Renal Data System, the national registry of individuals with kidney failure. The investigators identified 417,801 Caucasians who initiated dialysis from 1995 to 2007 and were followed through 2008.

Among the major findings:

  • Hispanics were just as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be put on the kidney transplant waitlist.
  • Once waitlisted, Hispanics were 21% less likely to receive a transplant from a deceased donor. But this disparity was largely explained by differences in patient blood type and regional variability of organ supply among organ procurement organizations across the country.

"The main barriers after placement on the waitlist include the tendency for Hispanics to reside in regions with organ procurement organizations characterized by longer median waiting times as well as the higher likelihood for Hispanics to have blood type O, which further complicates organ allocations due to fewer ABO-compatible deceased donors," said Arce. "To overcome the geographic disparities that Hispanics encounter in the path to transplantation, organ allocation policy revisions are needed to improve donor organ equity."