Background Racial disparity in access to liver transplantation among African Americans (AA) compared to Caucasians (CA) has been well described. The aim of this investigation was to examine the presentation of AA liver transplant recipients in a socioeconomically challenged region. Methods 680 adult liver transplant candidates and 233 resultant recipients between 2007 and 2015 were analyzed using univariate and multivariate analyses to evaluate factors significant for transplantation. Results Percentages of wait list patients transplanted were similar between CA and AA (34.9% vs. 32.2%, p = 0.5205). AA were younger (50.4 ± 1.8 vs. 56.3 ± 0.7 yrs, p = 0.0003) with higher average MELD scores (22.9 ± 1.6 vs. 19.4 ± 0.7, p = 0.0230). Overall patient mortality was similar (AA 22.7% vs. CA 26.3%, p = 0.5931). A multiple linear regression showed that male gender was strongly associated with transplantation. Conclusions Equal access to liver transplantation remains challenging for racial minorities. At our institution, AA were accepted and transplanted at an equivalent rate as CA despite a higher AA population, HCV rate and diagnosed HCC. AA were younger and sicker at the time of transplant, but overall had similar outcomes compared to CA. Our study highlights the need for studies to delineate the underpinnings of disparity in transplantation access.
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