Trends in kidney transplant outcomes in older adults

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Dec;62(12):2235-42. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13130. Epub 2014 Nov 29.


Objectives: To estimate mortality and death-censored graft loss according to year of kidney transplant (KT) between 1990 and 2011.

Design: Cohort study.

Setting: The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR).

Participants: KT recipients aged 65 and older at the time of transplantation (N = 30,207).

Measurements: Mortality and death-censored graft loss ascertained through center report and linkage to Social Security Death Master File and to Medicare.

Results: Older adults currently account for 18.4% of KT recipients, up from 3.4% in 1990; similar increases were noted for deceased donor (5.4 times percentage increase) and live donor (9.1 times percentage increase) transplants. Current recipients are not only older, but also more likely to be female and African American, have lengthier pretransplant dialysis, have diabetes mellitus or hypertension, and receive marginal kidneys. Mortality for older deceased donor recipients between 2009 and 2011 was 57% lower (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.43, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.33-0.56, P < .001) than between 1990 and 1993; mortality for older live donor recipients was 50% lower (HR = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.36-0.68, P < .001). Death-censored graft loss for older deceased donor recipients between 2009 and 2011 was 65% lower (HR = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.29-0.42, P < .001) than between 1990 and 1993; death-censored graft loss for older live donor recipients was 59% lower (HR = 0.41, 95% CI = 0.24-0.70, P < .001).

Conclusion: Despite a major increase in number of older adults transplanted and an expanding window of transplant eligibility, mortality and graft loss have decreased substantially for this recipient population. These trends are important to understand for patient counseling and transplant referral.

Keywords: graft loss; kidney transplantation; mortality; older adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation / mortality*
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / trends*
  • Registries
  • Survival Analysis
  • United States / epidemiology