Age of Liver Transplant Donor Might Not Matter

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MONDAY, Oct. 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who get a liver transplant from an older donor have better long-term survival than those who refuse this type of transplant, new research shows.

Transplant surgeons mainly use livers from donors under age 70 to avoid risks such as rejection and death. But a shortage of organs means that many patients die while on the transplant waiting list.

To assess the use of livers from donors older than 70, researchers analyzed outcomes among U.S. waiting list patients who were offered older organs between 2009 and 2017, including nearly 1,400 who accepted the organs and more than 29,000 who did not.

The average age of patients who accepted was 60, and the average age of those who declined was 58. They were followed from the time of organ offer until death or the end of the study.

Those who accepted an older organ had a 61 percent lower risk of death during the study period than those who declined an older organ, the investigators found.

The study was scheduled for presentation Monday at an American College of Surgeons meeting, in Boston. The research should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"In our study, we demonstrate that if you get an offer from an older donor, you should probably consider accepting the organ, because there is now a demonstrated survival benefit in doing so," lead author Dr. Christine Haugen, a surgery resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, said in a meeting news release.

More information

The American Liver Foundation has more on liver transplant.

SOURCE: American College of Surgeons, news release, Oct. 22, 2018


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