New insights into the epidemiology of chronic kidney disease in US Asians and Pacific Islanders

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Abstract

Purpose of review

In contrast to advances in our understanding of health disparities in other ethnic groups within the US, differential outcomes associated with chronic kidney disease among US Asians have gone largely unexamined. Until recently, risk estimates for chronic kidney disease outcomes among US Pacific Islanders were virtually unknown. This review highlights recent contributions to our understanding of chronic kidney disease outcomes in US Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Recent findings

Asians in the US appear to have a higher risk of end-stage renal disease relative to US whites after accounting for baseline kidney disease and many of the known risk factors for end-stage renal disease. The origins of the discrepancy in risk for end-stage renal disease between US Asians and whites do not appear to be explained by the socioeconomic and comorbidity disparities paradigm present in the US black vs. white model. Mounting evidence suggests that US Asians and Pacific Islanders receive substantially less predialysis care and proportionally fewer kidney transplants compared with US whites. Paradoxically, these populations have equivalent or better survival on dialysis.

Summary

These data highlight the need for studies to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the differential outcomes observed among US Asians and Pacific Islanders. Efforts to identify ethnicity-specific risk factors for kidney disease and interventions aimed at promoting predialysis care and kidney transplantation among US Asians and Pacific Islanders could substantially reduce morbidity, mortality, and costs.

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