Role of Age and Competing Risk of Death in the Racial Disparity of Kidney Failure Incidence after Onset of CKD

Guofen Yan*, Robert Nee, Julia J. Scialla, Tom Greene, Wei Yu, Fei Heng, Alfred K. Cheung, Keith C. Norris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The Black adult population is well known to have higher incidence of kidney failure than their White counterpart in the United States, but the reasons underlying this disparity are unclear. We assessed the racial differences in kidney failure and death from onset of CKD on the basis of the race-free 2021 CKD Epidemiology Collaboration equation and examined the extent to which these differences could be explained by factors at the time of CKD onset. Methods We analyzed a national cohort consisting of 547,188 US veterans (103,821 non-Hispanic Black and 443,367 non-Hispanic White), aged 18–85 years, with new-onset CKD between 2005 and 2016 who were followed through 10 years or May 2018 for incident kidney failure with replacement therapy (KFRT) and pre-KFRT death. Results At CKD onset, Black veterans were, on average, 7.8 years younger than White veterans. In any time period from CKD onset, the cumulative incidence of KFRT was 2.5-fold higher for Black versus White veterans. Meanwhile, Black veterans had persistently .2-fold higher hazards of KFRT throughout followup (overall hazard ratio [95% confidence interval], 2.38 [2.31 to 2.45]) and conversely had 17%–48% decreased hazards of pre-KFRT death. These differences were reduced after accounting for the racial difference in age at CKD onset. Conclusions The 2.5-fold higher cumulative incidence of kidney failure in Black adults resulted from a combination of higher hazards of progression to kidney failure and lower hazards of the competing risk of death, both of which can be largely explained by the younger age at CKD onset in Black compared with White adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-310
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes


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