Racial disparities in organ donation and why.
Bratton, Charles and Chavin, Kenneth and Baliga, Prabhakar (2011) Racial disparities in organ donation and why. Current opinion in organ transplantation, 16 (2). pp. 243-249.
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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: High prevalence of comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, hepatitis B and C, in minority groups, results in racial minorities being disproportionally represented on transplant waiting lists. Organ transplantation positively impacts patient survival but greater access is limited by a severe donor shortage. RECENT FINDINGS: Unfortunately, minority groups also suffer from disparities in deceased and living donation. African-Americans comprise 12.9% of the population and 34% of the kidney transplant waiting list but only 13.8% of deceased donors. Barriers to minority deceased donation include: decreased awareness of transplantation, religious or cultural distrust of the medical community, fear of medical abandonment and fear of racism. Furthermore, African-Americans comprise only 11.8% of living donors. Barriers to minority living donation include: unwillingness to donate, medical comorbid conditions, trust or fear of medical community, loss to follow-up, poor coping mechanisms, financial concerns, reluctance to ask family members and friends, fear of surgery, and lack of awareness about living donor kidney transplantation. SUMMARY: Transplant center-based education classes significantly and positively impact African-American concerns and beliefs surrounding living donation. Community and national strategies utilizing culturally sensitive communication and interventions can ameliorate disparities and improve access to transplantation.