[MOL] Women lack clout in transplants..... [02131] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Women lack clout in transplants.....

Friday, August 25, 2000
Women Lack Clout in Transplants

      For patients waiting for a kidney transplant, men are more likely than women to receive the needed organs, says a team of U.S. and Canadian researchers.
      "Since survival probability and quality of life are generally better with a functioning transplant relative to dialysis, it would appear that women are being denied a superior lifesaving therapy," says the team, led by Douglas E. Schaubel from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
      Men were 20 percent more likely to receive kidney transplants than women, after adjusting for factors related to transplant suitability. Researchers estimate that 588 female kidney patients died while awaiting a transplant during the study period, from January 1991 to December 1996.
      The analysis was based on data in the Canadian Organ Replacement Register; researchers looked at the cases of 20,131 men and 13,458 women ages 20 and older. The findings are published in the Aug. 14/28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
      The gender discrepancy increased with age, and the women least likely to get transplants were black, of Pakistani and other Asian Indian descent, or North American Indian. Overall, the five-year probability of receiving a kidney transplant from either living or deceased donors was 47 percent for men and 39 percent for women.
      The research team refers to another study which showed that women with
kidney disease in the United States were 70 percent less likely to receive transplants than male patients. One reason, researchers speculate, is that women's insurance coverage isn't as good as men's. Other possible factors are that women's immune systems may be more prone to rejecting donor kidneys, cultural differences may make family members less likely to donate a kidney to a female relative, or men may be more demanding in their desire to get off dialysis treatment.
      "Whether sex bias in kidney transplantation rates is existent or nonexistent, deliberate or unintentional, inequality with respect to delivered therapy is evidenct and warrants further investigation and possible intervention," researchers conclude.
--By Katrina Woznicki

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