Racial Discrimination Rules Over Pediatric Kidney Disease Patients

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The bean-like organ in our body, the kidneys, play a major role in regulating the body’s normal functioning. It serves as the filtering unit of the body. The kidneys remove toxic wastes and excess amount of water. It also releases hormones that regulate the blood pressure of the body, manufactures red blood cells and helps in maintaining the calcium levels and other important minerals.

During the crucial months of organ development, there are instances that the kidneys fail to develop properly. This may be caused by genetics; a parent does during pregnancy or an iatrogenic cause (unknown origin). But today, many tests can immediately detect a kidney malfunction or formation even in unborn child. A routine prenatal testing can be done to treat the child as early as possible.

Two studies from Emory University that were presented during the American Society of Nephrology’s Annual Kidney Week says that among the different races, children with kidney diseases are less likely to get kidney transplant that leads to death among other races. In cases of kidney failure, kidney transplant is an optimal treatment for patients suffering from this disease. While waiting for a kidney to be transplanted, dialysis can be done to restore the body’s homeostasis or balance. However, Rachel Patzer, PhD and her colleagues figured out how race and poverty impact access to kidney transplantation before dialysis — called preemptive transplantation — among children with kidney failure.

The average annual rate of preemptive transplantation was higher in whites than in Hispanics and blacks after studying the data from the United States Renal Data System from 2000 to 2008.  There are more white patients had living donors (78.8%) vs. Hispanics (57.3%) and blacks (48.8%). Hispanics had a 50% and blacks a 56% lower rate of preemptive transplants than whites which shows racial difference in the type of preemptive transplants in children.

“Among pediatric kidney disease patients in the United States, white patients have a significantly higher rate of getting a kidney transplant without ever starting dialysis compared to blacks and Hispanics,” concluded Dr. Patzer. “The reasons for this racial disparity are not entirely clear, but could be due to lower access to health care among minority patients,” she added.

Sandra Amaral, MD and her team conducted another related study regarding the racial differences in deaths among children with kidney failures. Patients with kidney failures under 21 years old were found out to have no kidney transplantation received after undergoing several sessions of dialysis between January 2000 and September 2008. The study ended last September of 2009.

Among 8,146 pediatric kidney failure patients, 896 (9.7%) died. Blacks with no health insurance had a 59% greater rate of death after developing kidney failure compared with whites, while Hispanics had a significantly lower rate of death vs. the other racial groups regardless of insurance status. “More studies are needed to understand why these differences occur,” said Dr. Amaral.





  1. [...] a 25% chance of genetic subscription to the condition. Males with BBS experience possibilities of kidney disease, mental retardation, and tendency to put on weight. The men usually have small genitalia. Women [...]

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