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BACKGROUND: To investigate any differences in access to transplant and post-transplant outcomes for ethnic minority patients in the United Kingdom, national data on ethnicity of patients on the waiting list, those receiving a transplant, and deceased donors were analyzed. METHODS: Adult patients and donors were included. Ethnic origin was classified as white, Asian, black, or "other." National data were analyzed, and 2001 U.K. National census data were used for comparative purposes. Median waiting times to transplant were obtained from Kaplan-Meier estimates for patients registered 1998-2000. Transplant survival was estimated for patients transplanted from 1998 to 2003. RESULTS: A total of 92% of the U.K. population was white, compared with 77% of waiting list patients, 88% of transplant recipients, and 97% of deceased donors. Median waiting time to transplantation for white patients was 719 days (95% confidence interval 680-758) compared with 1368 (1131-1605) days for Asian patients and 1419 (1165-1673) days for black patients. The degree of human leukocyte antigen matching achieved was inferior for Asian and black patients. There is some evidence of inferior 3-year transplant survival for black patients compared with white and Asian patients (P=0.03). CONCLUSIONS: There are imbalances in the ethnic make up of the waiting list, the donor pool, and renal transplant recipients. There are significant differences in both post-transplant outcomes and time to transplantation between patients of different ethnic origin. Waiting times are influenced by allocation schemes, and the 2006 U.K. National Kidney Allocation Scheme is designed to achieve greater equity of access to transplant for all patients, regardless of geography, blood group, or ethnicity.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1169 - 1173


Adult, African Continental Ancestry Group, Asian Continental Ancestry Group, European Continental Ancestry Group, Health Care Rationing, Humans, Kidney Transplantation, Minority Groups, Retrospective Studies, Time Factors, Tissue Donors, Tissue and Organ Procurement, Treatment Outcome, United Kingdom, Waiting Lists