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      Kidney Transplantation and Gender Disparity

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          Gender inequity in access to hemodialysis and kidney transplantation has created a public health crisis in the US. Women have a lower chance of receiving hemodialysis and kidney transplant than men, but they constitute the majority of living kidney donors. Research has shown that economic factors such as greater income of men may encourage females to be donors; while gender-bias on part of physicians or institutions, lack of social support networks and differences in health-seeking behaviors compared to men are cited as reasons for this imbalance. We suggest various strategies to improve participation of women in the transplant process by education; raising awareness by publishing gender-specific data for dialysis and transplant centers; education and workshops to eliminate gender-bias within institutions and health-care providers and establishment of gender-specific support groups. Transplant teams that are more sensitive to the social complexities of women’s lives may lead to increased understanding of the effects of renal disease and indicate measures that need to be in place in order to address this gender disparity in the treatment of renal failure. Research needs to be done to elucidate the underlying medical, societal or psychological processes that lead to gender bias in the field of kidney transplantation.

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          Most cited references 40

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          Barriers to cadaveric renal transplantation among blacks, women, and the poor.

          Cadaveric renal transplantation rates differ greatly by race, sex, and income. Previous efforts to lessen these differences have focused on the transplant waiting list. However, the transplantation process involves a series of steps related to medical suitability, interest in transplantation, pretransplant workup, and movement up a waiting list to eventual transplantation. To determine the relative importance of each step in explaining differences in cadaveric renal transplantation rates. Prospective cohort study. A total of 7125 patients beginning long-term dialysis between January 1993 and December 1996 in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. Completion of 4 separate steps during each patient-year of follow-up: (A) being medically suitable and possibly interested in transplantation; (B) being definitely interested in transplantation; (C) completing the pretransplant workup; and (D) moving up a waiting list and receiving a transplant. Compared with whites, blacks were less likely to complete steps B (odds ratio [OR], 0.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61-0.76), C (OR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.48-0.65), and D (OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.40-0.62) after adjustment for age, sex, cause of renal failure, years receiving dialysis, and median income of patient ZIP code. Compared with men, women were less likely to complete each of the 4 steps, with ORs of 0.90, 0.89, 0.80, and 0.82, respectively. Poor individuals were less likely than wealthy individuals to complete steps A, B, and C, with ORs of 0.67, 0.78, and 0.77, respectively. Barriers at several steps are responsible for sociodemographic differences in access to cadaveric renal transplantation. Efforts to allocate kidneys equitably must address each step of the transplant process.
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            Changes in quality of life after renal transplantation.

            The objective of this study was to evaluate the modifications that renal transplantation produces on the quality of life (QOL) of patients with chronic renal failure (CRF) previously undergoing hemodialysis (HD) and to analyze the possible factors implicated. A multicenter study of QOL was performed on 1,023 patients undergoing dialysis, using as QOL indicators the Karnofsky Scale (KS) and the Sickness Impact Profile (SIP). Among this group, 93 patients received a renal transplant and QOL was re-studied in them; each subject, therefore, was his own control. In the 88 patients with a functioning graft, an improvement in QOL indices was globally observed; this improvement was much more marked in men than in women, for unclear reasons. Older age and greater prior comorbidity diminished the beneficial effects of transplantation.
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              The effect of donor gender on graft survival.

              Differences in actuarial graft survival according to donor gender have been reported for renal allografts and for cardiac and hepatic allografts, but for the latter in small series with limited biostatistical power. Using the large database of the Collaborative Transplant Study (CTS), this study is an evaluation of graft survival according to donor and recipient gender for renal (n = 124,911), cardiac (n = 25,432), and hepatic (n = 16,410) transplants. Confounders, such as calendar year, geographical area, race, donor and recipient age, HLA mismatch, cold ischemia time, and others, as well as interaction terms were taken into consideration. Death-censored actuarial renal allograft survival from female compared with male donors was less in female recipients and even more so in male recipients. The donor gender-associated risk ratio for graft loss was 1.15 in female recipients and 1.22 in male recipients. The age-gender interaction term was statistically significant, the gender effect being more pronounced for younger (16 to 45 yr) compared with older (>45 yr) donors. Serum creatinine concentrations 1 yr after transplantation were also higher for recipients with kidney grafts coming from female donors irrespective of recipient gender. For first cardiac transplants, graft survival was inferior when the donor was female and the recipient male, but no statistical difference according to donor gender was demonstrable in female recipients. For first hepatic transplants overall, no significant differences according to donor gender were noted. The proportion of recipients who had treatment for rejection crisis during the first year was higher for male recipients of kidneys from female donors compared with male donors. No difference according to donor gender was demonstrable in female recipients. For cardiac and hepatic grafts, no significant effect of donor gender on the proportion of patients treated for rejection episodes was noted. The data show that adverse effects of female donor gender for different organs is much less uniform than reported in the past. An important confounder is donor age. A gender effect on graft survival is also observed for cardiac allografts. Therefore, in addition to potential "nephron underdosing," further pathomechanisms must play a role, possibly differences in immunogenicity according to donor gender.

                Author and article information

                Am J Nephrol
                American Journal of Nephrology
                S. Karger AG
                October 2005
                12 October 2005
                : 25
                : 5
                : 474-483
                Departments of aSurgery and bMedicine, University of South Dakota School of Medicine, Sioux Falls, S. Dak., USA; cDepartment of Psychology, Lewisham College, London, UK
                87920 Am J Nephrol 2005;25:474–483
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Tables: 3, References: 67, Pages: 10
                Self URI (application/pdf):
                Original Report: Patient-Oriented, Translational Research

                Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

                Kidney transplantation, Gender disparity


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