'Race not an issue' in liver transplant process

The race of people needing liver transplants has no bearing on how long they will be on the waiting list or how successful the operation will be, according to a new study.

In the research, there was an examination the experiences of 274 patients of Caucasian, Asian and African American origin, all of whom were on the liver transplant waiting list between 1996 and 2005 as a result of contracting hepatitis B virus.

It was led by Natalie Bzowej from California Pacific Medical Center and Anna Lok from the University of Michigan, who found that there was a similar waiting time and post-transplant outcome regardless of the race of the patient.

"Our research showed transplant indication and Model for End-stage Liver Disease score for endstage cirrhosis patients were the only predictors of transplantation, but race was not," the researchers concluded.

The report, which appears in the September issue of Liver Transplantation, contradicts previous studies which have suggested that there are significant differences in the access to - and outcomes of - transplants depending on race.

Recent research at the University of Washington suggested that having a healthy body mass index is important when going through with liver transplant surgery.

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'Race not an issue' in liver transplant process
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