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Receipt of Kidney Care Less Likely in Black Communities

Regardless of race, fewer people in these neighborhoods receive care before starting dialysis

FRIDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Even when their kidney function is clearly declining, people living in communities with a high percentage of black residents are less likely to receive kidney care before they start dialysis than those living elsewhere, regardless of race, according to research published online June 17 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Suma Prakash, M.D., of the University of Toronto, and colleagues analyzed data on 92,000 black and white adults who initiated renal replacement therapy (RRT) in the United States in 2005 and 2006 to determine the role of racial composition by zip code and the amount and quality of care patients receive before beginning RRT.

The researchers found that 29.5 percent of patients who lived in areas with black populations of fewer than 5 percent did not receive pre-end-stage renal disease (ESRD) care and that 40.7 percent of those who lived in neighborhoods with a majority of black residents did not receive pre-ESRD care. As the percentage of a neighborhood's black residents increased, so did the proportion of individuals not receiving pre-ESRD care. Quality of care was the same regardless of the racial composition of an area.

"It is possible that the concentration of a large proportion of black ESRD patients in a relatively small number of residential zip codes may provide opportunities to reduce racial disparities in access to nephrology care via targeted area-based approaches," the authors conclude.

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