Background: The upper age limit to receive a kidney transplant has progressively risen, but the outcomes of elderly (ages ≥65 years) transplant recipients remain understudied. We therefore evaluated mortality, graft failure, and predictors of these outcomes in this population.
Methods: Three cohorts of recipients transplanted between 1963 and 2012 (ages <50 years [n=2900], 50-64 years [n=1218], and ≥65 years [n=364] at transplantation) were compared for allograft and patient outcomes. Three similar age cohorts transplanted after 2000 (n=1410) were studied separately to address era effect.
Results: Death-censored graft survival was higher in recipients ages ≥65 years: 5, 10, and 15 years was 90.7%, 80.4%, and 73.7%; for ages 50-64 years, it was 87.2%, 77.6%, and 71.5%; and for ages <50 years was 79.8%, 70.3%, and 60.8%. Risk factors for graft failure in those ages ≥65 years included panel-reactive antibody >10%, congestive heart failure (CHF), delayed graft function, and cellular rejection. The 5-, 10-, and 15-year patient survival rate was 69.7%, 36.0%, and 14.0% for those ages ≥65 years; 76.4%, 54.8%, and 34.0% for those ages 50-64 years; and 81.7%, 66.7%, and 52.2% for those ages <50 years. For the entire cohort of elderly recipients, coronary artery disease and CHF were associated with mortality, and in those recipients transplanted after 2000, the risk factors for mortality were coronary artery disease, graft failure, peripheral vascular disease, and cause of end-stage renal disease listed as other. For graft failure, only CHF and cellular rejection were associated with this outcome.
Conclusions: The overall outcomes of transplantation in elderly kidney transplant recipients ages ≥65 years are excellent, but the risk factors for mortality and graft failure are distinctly different than those observed in younger recipients.