Racial 'Transplant Gap' Persists

Blacks more prone to kidney disease, get just 19% of transplants; many factors at play
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 8, 2008 12:46 PM CDT
Danny Langsdorf, right, donated a kidney to Laurie Cavanaugh in Oregon. Blacks are often unable to get such transplants, studies say.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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(Newser) – Financial struggles and difficulty finding donors—as well as an unclear “transplant gap”—make African Americans less likely to get kidney transplants than whites, the Chicago Tribune reports. Many remain on dialysis, making daily life harder and increasing the risk of death. “You can explain most of the discrepancy, but you still have a gap that you can't explain,” says a doctor.

While 37% of dialysis recipients are black, only 19% of the transplant population is, a government database shows. Transplants call for matching up donors and recipients, but fewer black donors means fewer matches for black recipients. Studies also suggest more education is needed on the transplant option. And some research shows that doctors are less likely to refer black patients for transplants.