Study: Race Influences Outcome of Liver Transplants. (Research Notebook)

Article excerpt

Blacks and Asians have worse outcomes than whites and Hispanics after liver transplantation, in terms of both graft rejection and survival, according to a new study of liver transplants done in the United States.

Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore analyzed data from the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) registry on age, sex, race, blood group, and cause of death of donors and recipients for all liver transplants done between 1988 and 1996.

"Our results show that outcomes two years after surgery were considerably lower for African-Americans and Asians than for white Americans," says Paul Thuluvath, M.D., associate professor of medicine and medical director of liver transplantation in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Johns Hopkins and lead author of the paper.

While the low outcomes for Asians are influenced by the number of patients with hepatitis B, the cause for low survival in blacks remains unclear. What is clear, says Thuluvath, is that more studies need to be done to determine why blacks are faring less well than other races.

"Until then, the reasons for poor survival in African-Americans will remain speculative," says Thuluvath. …