Ethnic differences in the occurrence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are reported on various populations across the world, but evidence on Roma is lacking. The aim of this study was to explore the relative risk (RR) of ESRD for Roma who constitute a major minority in Slovakia.
Patients treated by means of hemodialysis during 2005-2008 were questioned for their ethnicity. Rates of ESRD among Roma and non-Roma based on hemodialysis data were calculated as well as the RR of Roma for ESRD. The latter was repeated after standardization for differences in age of both populations.
Roma represented 11.6 % of all hemodialyzed patients. The RR of ESRD for Roma was 1.34, compared to the majority population. After age standardization, the RR for Roma was 2.85.
This study shows that the risk for ESRD is significantly higher for Roma than for non-Roma. A genetic propensity of Roma to renal failure may partially explain the higher risk. Moreover, a poorer control of risk factors for ESRD in Slovak Roma contributes to the increased risk.