Socioeconomic deprivation and barriers to live-donor kidney transplantation – a study

According to this study published in BMJ Open there is an interesting health inequality associated with deprivation and kidney disease. The research cites previous studies showing that:

“people from socioeconomically deprived populations are more likely to have Chronic Kidney Disease, more likely to require dialysis, but less likely to receive a live-donor kidney transplant compared with less-deprived populations.”

Aiming to use qualitative interviewing to get to the bottom of this relationship, the IMD 2010 scores of participants’ postcodes were used to measure their deprivation. Distinct themes emerged from interviews with high and low deprivation groups. The research suggests barriers for those in less deprived areas were more likely to be financial concerns (worry about causing a donor to lose earnings due to time off) and the geographical location of potential donors. Meanwhile participants from more deprived areas reported issues with having a short term outlook, feeling disempowered or passive in their access to information and relationships with their doctors, and lacking social support.

In contrast to this last issue, participants from less deprived areas “described significant social support, from family, friends, social groups, and faith groups. In these instances often a number of offers of donation had been received, even if these did not proceed.”

It is striking that a lack of social capital could thus result in someone missing out on an organ transplant and living with dialysis instead. The authors suggest targeted interventions to address this disparity.

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