PHILADELPHIA—Diabetics are less likely to be placed on a waiting list for a renal transplant and are less likely to be transplanted, according to findings reported at Kidney Week 2011. The reason may be that diabetics have a higher level of co-morbidities, greater body mass index (BMI), and lower rate of living donation, researchers noted.

Investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston led by Alexander S. Goldfarb-Rumyantzev, MD, PhD, analyzed data from 721,521 patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The mean age at ESRD onset was 63.6 years; the group was 54.6% male, 64.7% white, and 29.2% African American.

Diabetics had a 17% decreased likelihood of being placed on a transplant waiting list and a 26% decreased likelihood of receiving a transplant. However, after adjusting for comorbidities  BMI, and donor type (living vs. deceased), diabetics had a 22% and 28% greater chance of being waitlisted and receiving a transplant, respectively, compared with non-diabetics.

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“Results may suggest that the access of patients with diabetes to kidney transplant may be improved by addressing their comorbities, reducing weight, and looking for living donors,” Dr. Goldfarb-Rumyantzev said.