Elderly organ donation supported by new study

Older Americans can be organ donors, even when they are 80, suggests a new study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

For the study, Italian researchers retrospectively examined 647 consecutive extended criteria donor kidney transplants performed from 2003 through 2013. "Extended criteria" donors were defined as all donors older than 60 and those in their 50s with certain risk factors. The donors were classified according to age decade — 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s. There was no more than seven years age difference between the recipients and the donors, reports The New York Times.

Researchers said they ultimately found the discard rate and long-term outcomes are similar among extended criteria donor kidney transplant from donors age 50 to 79.

However, they said, the discard rate was strikingly higher among kidneys from octogenarian donors, though appropriate selection provides comparable long-term outcomes, with better graft survival for dual-kidney transplant.

After a median follow-up of 4.9 years, patient and kidney survival were similar among age groups, according to a news release. The five-year patient survival rates were anywhere from 87.8 percent to 90.1 percent, and the five-year kidney survival rates  from 65.9 percent to 75.2 percent.

"The results of this study support the use of extended criteria donors, even donors older than 80 years, but they have to be accurately selected and managed with dedicated protocols," one of the researchers, Luigi Biancone, MD, with the University of Torino in Italy, said in a news release.

 

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