A recent study has pointed out that African American dialysis patients usually live longer than whites.
High levels of inflammation—which may be due to conditions such as infections, inflammatory illnesses, periodontal disease, chronic lung disease, and obesity—increase dialysis patients' risk of dying prematurely. Deidra Crews, MD (Johns Hopkins University) and her colleagues wondered whether racial differences in inflammation might explain the survival paradox among dialysis patients.
The investigators followed 554 white and 262 African American dialysis patients from 81 clinics for an average of three years (range four months to 9.5 years). Among the major findings:
- At five years, a lower percentage of African Americans (34%) died compared with whites (56%), as expected.
- A survival advantage for African Americans only existed among patients with high levels of inflammation.
- When comparing patients with lower levels of inflammation, African American and white patients survived for similar lengths of time.