Hispanics Live Longer On Dialysis Than Caucasians
Kidney dialysis is a method of eliminating waste and unneeded water from the blood. Normally, our kidneys complete this process naturally. People who have kidneys that are not functioning properly need dialysis.
Dialysis can be used for people who are sick and have acute kidney failure or for stable people who have chronic kidney disease.
Dialysis is necessary because close to 1,500 liters of blood are filtered by a healthy person's kidneys each day. A healthy person could not function without the kidneys removing waste. When a person's kidneys are not functioning correctly, she or he will experience a buildup of waste in the blood. If this waste in the blood is not removed it can lead to a coma or even death.
Dialysis can also be used to quickly eliminate drugs and toxins from the body.
Investigators examined data from close to 1.3 million adults who were treated with dialysis between 1995 and 2009. The data came from the United States Renal Data System. Whites were found to have a much higher mortality than Hispanics or blacks after a two year period.
Hispanics and African-Americans survive for longer on dialysis than Caucasians
This trend was seen among all age groups except the youngest patients aged 18 to 30. In this group black patients were more likely to die than whites.
The reasons for these particular outcomes is still in question. Hispanics have the lowest levels of health insurance in the U.S. and no advantage in access to care.
Previous research has suggested a "survival paradox" for black patients on dialysis. Although blacks in the general public have a worse survival rate than whites - they benefit more and survive at a higher rate on dialysis.
Research also speculates that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to die before they develop kidney failure and the ones that survive are healthier and live longer than white patients.
The results of the study are limited by the possibility of misreporting of covariate, data such as race and ethnicity, and because details of the patient were not available in the large database.
The authors point out that because mortality risk among dialysis patients is lowest in Hispanics, highest in whites, and in the middle for blacks, more studies are needed to further examine and identify Hispanic whites from non-Hispanic whites.
Guofen Yan, PhD, of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and study author said, "Examining dialysis survival among racial and ethnic subgroups may help identify care disparities and outcome differences in chronic kidney disease."
Last year, a study from Lawson Health Research Institute established that people suffering with end-stage kidney disease may up their survival chances by undergoing intensive dialysis at home rather than dialysis in clinics.
Written by Kelly Fitzgerald
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"The Relationship of Age, Race, and Ethnicity with Survival in Dialysis Patients"
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Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, March 2013, doi: 10.2215/CJN.09180912
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