Latino, Black Dialysis Patients In US Face Greater Risk of Infection

Fifty percent of the US population on dialysis are Hispanics or Afro-Americans, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Foto: Freepik
February 09, 2023 | 01:03 PM

Bloomberg Línea — Fifty percent of patients undergoing dialysis treatments in the United States are Hispanic Americans and African Americans, and it is precisely this group that presents the highest risk of contracting a blood infection compared to white patients.

Dialysis is the artificial process by which waste products and excess water are removed from the body, explains the University of Barcelona. The process is necessary when the kidneys are not working properly.

However, the process carries an inherent US risk of contracting staphylococcal infections in the blood (Staphylococcus aureus), which can be life-threatening. People on dialysis are 100 times more likely to get infections than those not on dialysis.

Hispanic dialysis patients had a 40% higher risk of staph bloodstream infections than their white counterparts, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the risk was 10% higher among Black patients, who make up around one-third of Americans undergoing the procedure, according to data from CDC researchers who analyzed data from the National Healthcare Safety Network 2020 and the 2017-2020 Emerging Infections Program.


Adjusting for state of residence, age, sex, and type of vascular access, the highest risk of staphylococcal bloodstream infection was among Hispanic patients and patients aged 18 to 49 years.

Also, persons in areas with the highest levels of poverty, household crowding, and low levels of education had more staphylococcal bloodstream infections, the research shows.


The CDC data confirm that one of the key ways healthcare providers can reduce the risk of infection is by using low-risk alternatives, such as fistulas and grafts, to replace central venous catheters that connect patients’ blood circulation to dialysis machines.


“Our data show that the use of a central venous catheter as a type of vascular access had a six-fold increased risk of staphylococcal bloodstream infections compared to the lowest risk access, a fistula,” Shannon Novosad, dialysis safety team leader in the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, stated in the research.

Other ways to reduce the risk of infection include:

  • Promoting practices that prevent and slow the progression of chronic kidney disease
  • Counsel patients regarding possible treatment options before they develop end-stage kidney disease
  • Coordinate activities among patients, nephrologists, vascular access surgeons, radiologists, basic and senior nurses, and social workers to reduce the use of central venous catheters
  • Use proven practices to prevent and control infections in all dialysis facilities in the United States.
  • Reduce barriers for patients receiving medical care by offering transportation assistance, insurance coverage counseling, social work services, and information resources in multiple languages.
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