The role of kidney transplantation in differential survival in Black and White patients with childhood-onset kidney failure is unexplored.
We analyzed 30-year cohort data of children beginning RRT before 18 years of age between January 1980 and December 2017 (n=28,337) in the US Renal Data System. Cox regression identified transplant factors associated with survival by race. The survival mediational g-formula estimated the excess mortality among Black patients that could be eliminated if an intervention equalized their time with a transplant to that of White patients.
Black children comprised 24% of the cohort and their crude 30-year survival was 39% compared with 57% for White children (log rank P<0.001). Black children had 45% higher risk of death (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.45; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.36 to 1.54), 31% lower incidence of first transplant (aHR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.67 to 0.72), and 39% lower incidence of second transplant (aHR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.57 to 0.65). Children and young adults are likely to require multiple transplants, yet even after their first transplant, Black patients had 11% fewer total transplants (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR], 0.89; 95% CI, 0.86 to 0.92). In Black patients, grafts failed earlier after first and second transplants. Overall, Black patients spent 24% less of their RRT time with a transplant than did White patients (aIRR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.74 to 0.78). Transplantation compared with dialysis strongly protected against death (aHR, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.16 to 0.48) by time-varying analysis. Mediation analyses estimated that equalizing transplant duration could prevent 35% (P<0.001) of excess deaths in Black patients.
Equalizing time with a functioning transplant for Black patients may equalize survival of childhood-onset ESKD with White patients.