A varying patient safety profile between black and nonblack adults with decreased estimated GFR

Clarissa J. Diamantidis, Stephen L. Seliger, Min Zhan, Loreen Walker, Gail B. Rattinger, Van Doren Hsu, Jeffrey C. Fink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chronic kidney disease is a high-risk condition for a variety of adverse safety events, yet little is known about differential rates of safety events across racial groups with decreased kidney function. We sought to examine the incidence of an array of disease-specific adverse safety events in black versus nonblack patients with decreased estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Study Design: Retrospective observational study of a national US Veterans Affairs cohort. Settings & Participants: Veterans with eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m 2 and one or more hospitalization during federal fiscal year 2005 (n = 70,154). Predictor: Self-reported race/ethnicity dichotomized as black or nonblack. Outcomes: Hospital discharge coding for Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) patient safety indicators (PSIs), laboratory records for detection of hyperkalemia and hypoglycemia, and pharmacy records to determine dosing of 4 selected medications. Measurements: Relationship between race and disease-specific patient safety events. Results: Black veterans were more likely than nonblack veterans to experience one type of safety event (33% vs 32%, respectively) and multiple types of safety events (32% vs 23%, respectively; both P < 0.001). After adjustment, black veterans were 11% and 36% more likely to have at least one episode of hyperkalemia and hypoglycemia, respectively, than nonblack veterans, but were 14% less likely to experience a medication error (all P < 0.001). There was no association between the occurrence of AHRQ PSIs and race after adjustment. Limitations: Use of administrative data has a risk of imprecision in coding; Veterans Affairs cohort may limit generalizability. Conclusions: Black veterans with decreased eGFR are more likely to experience a broad array of safety events than nonblacks with decreased eGFR, with a preponderance of metabolic disturbances rather than medication errors or AHRQ PSIs. The differential safety phenotype in blacks versus nonblacks may have implications for preventive strategies to improve patient safety in an integrated health care system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-53
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic kidney disease
  • health care disparities
  • patient safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology

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