No Benefit to Matching Hearts by Race

BALTIMORE, June 3 (UPI) — A donor heart matched for the race of the transplant recipient has no advantage for survival, U.S. researchers found.

Dr. Ashish Shah of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore found transplanting hearts into patients of the same ethnic group had no effect on heart transplant 5-year survival rates.

The study, published in Annals of Thoracic Surgery, was based on a review of the pooled medical records from more than 140 hospitals licensed to do heart transplants. The study involved more than 20,000 patients who received a donor heart — 12,381, 61 percent, of whom were race matched.

“It does not matter whether a white, black, Hispanic or Asian donor heart is transplanted into a patient of any other particular race,” Shah said in a statement. “Other factors must be the reason for any differences in how well people do after transplantation, in particular, why blacks have poorer outcomes.”

Regardless of race, patients with government healthcare, especially Medicaid, had a 30 percent higher risk of needing some kind of anti-rejection treatment, and they had a 39 percent higher risk of dying than transplant recipients with private insurance.

Overall, those with a college education had a 12 percent lower risk of rejection.

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