It is common to assign an upper age limit for potential lung transplant recipients. The influence of age on LTX outcome is, however not, documented. A review of our first 103 LTXs, 51 single LTXs and 52 double LTXs, includes 31 recipients aged 50-63 years (mean 55.3 +/- 3.9); 19 received single LTX, and 12 received double LTX. Indications for LTX in those aged greater than 50 included proportionately more patients with emphysema and interstitial lung disease. Actuarial survivals in those aged less than 50 at 12, 36, and 60 months were 68%, 60%, and 55%, and in those aged greater than 50 was 70%, 61%, and 61%, respectively. The causes of death reflect a tendency of younger patients to die from graft rejection and older patients to die from sepsis. Acute rejection more than 6 weeks posttransplant and chronic rejection were less frequent in older patients (P < 0.05). The 6-minute walk and modified Bruce protocol tests, the incidence of CMV pneumonitis, and the late post-LTX renal function were not related to age. In conclusion, in carefully selected candidates in their sixth and seventh decades, LTX is an acceptable operation for end-stage lung disease. The tendency of older patients to a lower incidence of late allograft rejection (acute or chronic) may reflect decreased immunological responsiveness with age.