A COVID-19 patient using a ventilator rests while his blood is passed through a kidney dialysis machine (L) on the floor of the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center on April 21, 2020 in the ward from Brooklyn to New York.
Robert Nickelberg | Getty Images
Hispanic dialysis patients are at a 40% higher risk of developing staphylococcal bacteremia compared to whites, underscoring economic and racial disparities in the US healthcare system, according to new data released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Adults on dialysis for kidney failure were 100 times more likely to get staph bloodstream infections compared to the general US population, the CDC said. Needles and catheters are used to connect patients to dialysis, and bacteria like staph can enter a patient’s bloodstream during the process. Staphylococcal infections are serious and sometimes fatal.
“Infections overall are believed to be the second leading cause of death in dialysis patients – that’s all infections, not just bloodstream infections,” said Dr Shannon Novosad, head of the safety team. of CDC dialysis, to reporters on a call Monday. “They are also one of the leading causes of hospitalization for these patients.”
More than 800,000 people in the United States live with kidney failure, 70% of whom are on dialysis, according to the CDC.
People of color, however, face an even higher risk of kidney failure, accounting for more than half of dialysis patients. The rate of kidney failure is four times higher among blacks and twice as high among Hispanics as among whites, according to CDC data. Blacks make up 33% of all patients in the United States on dialysis.
Blacks and Hispanics on dialysis were also more likely to get staph infections than white patients, the CDC said. Data analyzing dialysis patients from 2017 to 2020 did not clearly calculate the increased risk for black patients. Hispanic patients, however, faced a 40% higher risk of staph infection than whites, according to the CDC.
The CDC, in a statement, said the unadjusted rate of staph bloodstream infections in black patients was 23% higher than in whites, but when adjusted for other factors, they did not. were not at higher risk.
“It is always important to highlight these high rates because staph bloodstream infections occur at a higher rate in black patients on dialysis, but there are other factors that contribute to this high rate apart from the only race,” CDC spokeswoman Martha Sharan said.
More dialysis patients with staph bloodstream infections lived in areas with higher poverty, more crowded households and lower levels of education, Novosad said. About 42% of staph infections in dialysis patients occurred in poorer areas, she said.
The CDC study looked at data from select counties in seven states from 2017 to 2020. The states are California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Tennessee and Minnesota.
According to the CDC, bloodstream infections in patients on dialysis decreased by 40% from 2014 to 2019 thanks to training staff and patients on how to prevent them. The use of fistulas and grafts to connect a patient’s bloodstream to the dialysis machine reduces the risk of infection compared to catheters.
“Preventing staph bloodstream infections begins with detecting chronic kidney disease early in order to prevent or delay the need for dialysis,” said CDC chief medical officer Dr. Debra Houry.