(HealthDay News) — More than 2 million kidney failure patients worldwide die prematurely every year because they can’t get treatment, according to a new study published in The Lancet.

Researchers analyzed data from 123 countries with 93% of the world’s population, and found there were between 4.9 and 9.7 million kidney failure patients who required either dialysis or a kidney transplant in 2010. Of the 2.6 million patients who were treated, 78% received dialysis. Of those who received treatment, 92.8% lived in high- to high-middle-income nations, the findings showed.

The investigators also calculated that between 2.3 and 7.1 million kidney failure patients who could have been kept alive if they received either dialysis or a kidney transplant died prematurely because they could not get treatment. Most of the premature deaths occurred in China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Nigeria, where less than one-fourth of eligible kidney failure patients receive treatment.

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“The high cost of current dialysis techniques are unaffordable to most people who need it,” study author Vlado Perkovic, Ph.D., of the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Sydney, said in a journal news release. The study has prompted three international kidney health groups to launch a worldwide competition to design the first affordable dialysis machine. The prize is $100,000.


  1. Liyanage, T, et al. The Lancet, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61601-9.
  2. Josef Coreshemail and Tazeen H Jafar. The Lancet; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61890-0.