Burden of end-stage renal disease among indigenous peoples in Australia and New Zealand

Stephen McDonald, Graeme R. Russ

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88 Citations (Scopus)


Rates of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) among indigenous people in Australia and New Zealand are considerebly higher than the non-indigenous population. This trend, apparent for several years, is described here using data from the Australia & New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant (ANZDATA) Registry. The average age at start of renal replacement therapy (RRT) is approximately 10 years less than non-indigenous people. Among those starting RRT, rates of "diabetic nephropathy" are higher among indigenous patients, reflecting higher rates of diabetes. The increased burden of illness extends to coronary artery disease and chronic lung disease, which are present at rates 1.5 to 2 times non-indigenous rates. Once dialysis treatment has commenced, indigenous people are less likely to be placed on the active cadaveric transplant waiting list, and less likely to receive a graft. Overall mortality outcomes are poorer for indigenous patients overall, and for each RRT modality. These outcomes are not simply due to increased frequency of co-morbid illness: for indigenous people receiving dialysis treatment the mortality rate adjusted for age and gender is around 1 1/2 times the non-indigenous rate. These data are consistent with studies showing increased rates of markers of early renal disease (in particular albuminuria) among both Australian and New Zealand indigenous groups, and reflect a broader health profile marked by high rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic lung disease. Addressing these issues is a major challenge for health care providers in these regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S123-S127
JournalKidney International, Supplement
Issue number83
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Aboriginal Australians
  • Dialysis
  • Health profile
  • Maori
  • Registry data
  • Torres Strait Islanders
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology

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