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African American communities receive less kidney testing, care

Category: Kidney Diseases

Patients in predominantly black neighborhoods rarely receive the kind of kidney testing that could help them improve their condition before their kidneys deteriorate to a stage that necessitates dialysis, according to a new report.

Researchers from the University of Toronto examined the medical records of 92,000 patients in the U.S. who started dialysis treatment between June 1, 2005 and October 5, 2006.

They found that more than 40 percent of individuals who live in areas with a majority of African American residents did not receive any kind of pre-dialysis kidney care. This number was significantly lower for patients living in areas with few black people.

Sharon Stein Merkin, who wrote an editorial that accompanied the study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, said that information on societal factors that influence the level of treatment patients receive could lead to more effective public health efforts.

"Considering the important role of public health in implementing interventions at the community level, this focus is crucial for pinpointing the needs and characteristics of community-level interventions," she said.

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