As the U.S. continues to grapple with systemic racism, some in the medical community are questioning whether the diagnostic tools they use may be contributing to racial health disparities.
As NPR science correspondent Maria Godoy reports, that debate is playing out prominently in the world of kidney medicine, where estimated glomerular filtration rate, or eGFR, is used. The diagnostic formula most commonly used to assess the health of patients with chronic kidney disease may be unintentionally contributing to poor outcomes — and reinforcing racist thinking.
Black people are almost four times more likely to suffer from kidney failure than non-Hispanic whites. And once they get to that stage, Black patients spend months longer waiting for a kidney transplant than white patients.