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Transplant Hospitals To Use Race-Neutral eGFR Formulas

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

This is a huge win for black people living with kidney disease.


3.3 million more Black Americans would qualify to see a Nephrologist, become eligible for transplant evaluation, and get on the waitlist to receive a kidney transplant if race-based GFR’s never existed.


How the GFR Disadvantaged Black Kidney Patients


In a previous article titled, How Racially Based Algorithms Delay Kidney Transplants for Black Patients, we discussed how race was being used to calculate GFR values to determine how sick kidney patients were.


If you recall, the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was shown to disadvantage Black patients with chronic kidney disease because it had a multiplier (a race adjustment) that increased only the black patients' GFR. No other race had this multiplier added.


High GFR values indicate better kidney functionality which led to black patients being misdiagnosed and getting less care for their kidney disease. The lower your GFR, the worse your kidneys are functioning. Low GFR is what qualifies you for a kidney transplant. With this calculation being wrong for black patients, it’s estimated that approximately 3.3M more black patients would have had a higher rate of kidney disease, qualifying them for kidney care and kidney transplants before becoming in dire need of them.


Exciting News


Over the summer (July 27, 2022), the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) approved a proposal that required transplant hospitals to use race-neutral eGFR formulas. This change will lead to more accurate estimated GFR values in black patients.


How This Improves Equity


If you’re already registered on the kidney transplant waitlist and your GFR was calculated using the race-based GFR, transplant programs will update the waiting time for the date on which you qualified for the transplant. Visit the Organ Procurement Network to learn who qualifies for a waiting time modification.


With this change in transplant policy, we should see an increase in equity for kidney patients.


 

This page contains general medical information. Medical knowledge and practice can change rapidly. Therefore, this page should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.

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