Concerns May Deter Some From Transplants

Kidney transplant concerns more common in women, older patients and less educated people, study found

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Some patients are less likely than others to undergo surgery to receive a new kidney. New research looked at the concerns that may drive this decision-making in patients.

A recent study looked at reasons why patients on dialysis did not seek kidney transplants.

Many patients cited hesitance to ask a loved one to donate a kidney and fear of surgery, the study authors found.

"Talk to your nephrologist about transplant options."

Dorry Segev, MD, PhD, and colleagues set out to learn the concerns among dialysis patients about seeking kidney transplants.

Dialysis is a medical treatment that filters waste from the blood — the central function of kidneys. Many patients on dialysis need kidney transplants.

The research team also looked at patient demographics like age, gender and education level to see if they affected patients' willingness to receive kidney transplants.

“The study is an important reminder that major disparities still exist in access to kidney transplantation, and it sheds some light on the mechanism of these disparities, ” Dr. Segev, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, said in a press statement.

The study authors found 348 Baltimore-area adults who started dialysis between 2009 and 2012.

Based on interviews, 68.4 percent of the patients felt they were doing fine on dialysis; 29.9 percent felt uncomfortable asking someone to donate a kidney.

Among women, 26 percent cited a fear of surgery. Only 7.7 percent of men noted this fear.

Older, female and less educated patients had more concerns about kidney transplants. The authors also found that patients who had never seen a kidney specialist before starting dialysis also had higher levels of concern.

Dr. Segev said the study findings “should inspire the development of educational programs to address these concerns and help patients make the most informed treatment decisions possible.”

The study was published online Sept. 11 in CJASN.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, the Doris Duke Clinical Research Mentorship Award, the American Society of Nephrology and the Johns Hopkins Pepper Center. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
September 10, 2014
Last Updated:
September 11, 2014