SAN DIEGO—Non-black renal transplant patients infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have better survival if they receive a kidney from a non-black rather than a black donor, data show.

Black transplant recipients have similar survival whether they receive black or non-black donor kidney.

Using information from the United Network for Organ Sharing database, investigators at Henry Ford Hospital and Henry Ford Transplant Institute in Detroit studied 2,898 HCV-positive renal transplant recipients, whom they divided into four groups based on donor and recipient race pairs: black donor and black recipient; non-black donor and black recipient; black donor and non-black recipient; and non-black donor and non-black recipient.

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Compared with non-black recipients of non-black donor kidneys, non-black recipients of black donor kidneys had a 70% increased death risk, the investigators reported at the 2010 American Transplant Congress. The death risk for black recipients of either black or non-black donor kidneys did not differ significantly.

Unlike HCV-negative recipients, the researchers observed, HCV-positive patients did not experience a survival advantage from preemptive transplantation or receiving a live donor kidney.

In addition, the study showed that having an HCV-positive donor was associated with a significant 40% increased risk of recipient