ANCHOR LEAD: DOES RACE MATTER WHEN IT COMES TO HEART TRANSPLANTS? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Race is a non-issue when it comes to heart transplants, a Johns Hopkins study led by Ashish Shah, a transplant surgeon, has found. In an analysis of more than 20,000 heart transplant patients published in Annals of Thoracic Surgery, race matching did nothing to extend the life of organ recipients.
SHAH: The study is important because historically and traditionally it was felt that there was a phenomenon where people who got hearts from other races would have worse outcomes, particularly hearts from African American donors, there was some concern that there was a biologic reason or an immunologic reason why people didn’t do as well, meaning people didn’t live as long and that the early outcomes and the early function of the hearts weren’t as good and our study refutes that idea. :29
Shah says factors that did matter were type of medical insurance, education, and health care system flaws, and the good news is, these can be fixed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.