Author(s): Lufft V, Kliem V, Tusch G, Dannenberg B, Brunkhorst R
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The demand for kidney allografts in older patients is growing continually. Previously published data indicate that the higher rate of graft losses resulting from the age-related increased mortality in older transplant recipients is balanced by a significantly lower number of graft losses from immunological problems (acute and chronic rejection) in old patients. This single center study was performed to scrutinize these results with the methods of a case control analysis. METHODS: Ninety-one patients, 65 years and older (mean age 67), were included in the case group. Their data were compared with those obtained from two control groups, 40-55 and 18-35 years old, respectively (mean ages 48 and 29, respectively). Apart from age, the groups were matched with regard to HLA-mismatches and date of transplantation. RESULTS: The number of initially non-functioning grafts and donor age did not differ significantly between the case and the control groups. During the follow-up of 5 years, acute rejections were significantly more frequent in the older control group. In contrast to previous studies, however, graft losses caused by rejections were not significantly more frequent in younger patients than in transplant recipients over age 65 years. Thus, as a consequence of increased patient mortality, the total graft survival in the case group was significantly worse than in the control groups. CONCLUSIONS: In the presence of organ shortage, an indication for kidney transplantation in patients over 65 years has to be considered carefully because age did not prove to have a beneficial effect on graft survival. Nevertheless, patients of this age group should not be excluded from renal transplantation, because not only medical, but also ethical, issues are involved.
This article was published in Transplantation
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research