Thousands Of Black Kidney Transplant Candidates Moved Up On Waitlist After Testing Bias Found

in recent months more than 14,000 black
kidney transplant candidates in the US
have been moved up on the waiting list
it comes after a widely used test was
found to be racially biased it was
overestimating how well black people’s
kidneys were functioning making them
seem healthier than they actually were
so I want to bring in Dr uh FAA tedla he
is the medical director and of kidney
and pancreas transplant at the con
school of medicine at Mount Si thank you
so much for joining us can you explain
what this test was how widely it was
used and the
impact uh the test is uh a measure of
your kidney function it’s called
creatinine and um it measures what we
call glal filtration rate or um it
implies glal filtration rate and we use
a formula that converts that number into
GFR and that formula had a race
coefficient that inflates um GFR in
African-Americans and so the end result
was that as we mentioned many more
African-Americans were seeming healthier
and so they weren’t getting places on
the transplant list and so what was what
was kind of what happened as a result
what were some of the things that you
were seeing as a
doctor uh one is patients are not
referred for transplant because their
doctors may think their kidney function
function is better than it really is um
and since weight time is the critical
factor in getting a kidney transplant
from the deceased uh donor weight list
they would lose time because they’re not
referred on time and then I mean that’s
got to have an impact on your
health that that’s correct so you would
have longer time on dialysis or you
would wait longer for transplant and uh
because of that your outcome could
change or your access transplant could
suffer right cuz you you’re kidneys
could even be further damaged by the
time you make it onto a list which I
think would make your outcome uh even
more challenging um to become healthy so
what’s happening now with all of these
patients being moved up on the list is
this is an attempt to help to make up
for lost time right to sort of balance
things out for
them uh yes so the formula was changed
and such that the race factor is
eliminated a new formula based on newer
studies was developed and in June 2020
two the um National body that regulates
transplant uh mandated that the new
formula be used since that time but
there were patient who are already on
the weight list who might have been
affected by the use of the old formula
so it’s retroactively applied to those
patients so if you find that their
kidney function as measured by GFR would
have been lower than um what it was
reported as using the new formula then
uh they would get that time back and
that helps them gain more time on the
transplant weight list well I’m glad
that this kind of historic wrong is
being corrected but it really makes you
wonder how many other tests or
algorithms are racially biased and
having a negative impact on on
minorities and black folks uh in this
country Dr uh FICA tedla thank you so
much thank you

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