Girls Less Likely Than Boys to Be on Kidney Transplant List

Reasons for the gap aren't clear, but speeding time to transplant is crucial, researchers say

TUESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Girls are much less likely than boys to be placed on a kidney transplant waiting list, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from almost 4,500 dialysis patients younger than 21 years of age at 150 kidney treatment centers in Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico and the United States. The results showed that girls were 22 percent less likely than boys to be placed on a waiting list for a new kidney.

There were no obvious reasons, such as medical factors or family preference, to account for this gender difference, said the researchers at the University of California Davis School of Medicine.

They also found that girls were less likely to have pre-emptive kidney transplants and less likely to have a living-related donor.

The study was published online April 20 in the journal Pediatric Transplantation.

The sooner a young person with advanced chronic kidney disease receives a new kidney, the better their long-term health and the longer the life of the kidney, experts said.

"If the goal is to get them transplanted as soon as possible, then they need to be wait-listed as soon as possible," study lead author Stephanie Nguyen, assistant professor of pediatric nephrology, said in a UC Davis news release. "The longer they're waiting for a transplant, the worse their outcomes will be."

Another expert at UC Davis agreed. "Children who face kidney transplant fare best when they receive the organ without undergoing dialysis," explained Dr. Lavjay Butani, professor of pediatric nephrology in the UC Davis School of Medicine and chief of pediatric nephrology. Butani, who has conducted his own study into the issue, noted that, "the longer the dialysis prior to the operation, the worse is the survival of the kidneys."

He said the new study "poses important questions that need to be addressed, to better explore and understand the reasons behind this gender difference in access to organ transplant."

According to Nguyen, doctors must be sure to carefully monitor the transplant evaluation process and to ensure that girls are given the same chance as boys to receive a new kidney as soon as possible.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about kidney failure in children.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: UC Davis Health System, news release, April 20, 2011

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