Objectives: To compare the incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) among Aboriginals in New South Wales with the incidence among Aboriginals in the Northern Territory, and to compare the patterns of ESRD among Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals in NSW.
Design: Secondary data analysis of information from unpublished and published Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry reports.
Main outcome measures: Average annual incidence of ESRD (persons per million); form of renal replacement therapy; mortality at 31 March 1998; patient and graft survival one and five years after transplant.
Results: Each year in NSW, 5-17 new Aboriginal patients are treated for ESRD. There was no increase in the average annual incidence of ESRD among NSW Aboriginals (118 per million in 1988-1989 and 111 per million in 1996-1997), whereas incidence in the NT increased from 255 per million to 800 per million. In NSW, ESRD was attributed to diabetes in 32% of Aboriginal patients, compared with 13% of non-Aboriginal patients (P < 0.001). In NSW, Aboriginal patients were younger and more likely to be female, a pattern similar to that in the NT. The outcome of ESRD treatment is not significantly different between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals in NSW.
Conclusion: There is a different pattern of incidence of ESRD and of outcomes with treatment among Aboriginals in NSW compared with those in the NT. A possible explanation is that the lower incidence in NSW reflects less profound socioeconomic disadvantage and better access to primary and specialist care.