FRIDAY, Nov. 16, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Age shouldn't be a barrier to receiving a kidney transplant, researchers say, and using donated kidneys that would normally be discarded may help ease a shortage of available organs.
"In the recent past, chronological age has been considered a barrier for both organ donation and transplantation. Our experience suggests that by transplanting organs that are considered higher-risk into carefully selected elderly patients, waiting times can be reduced and survival is similar, compared to standard-organ transplants," study lead author Dr. Phillip Moore, of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, said in a prepared statement.
He and his colleagues studied 356 kidney transplant patients for almost six years. Nearly of third of them were over age 60, and 54 percent of those older patients received kidneys from expanded criteria donors (ECD). They include organs from deceased donors, donors over age 60, or donors over age 50 with health conditions such as hypertension, stroke or elevated levels of a protein called creatinine.
Patient and organ survival rates were similar among all age groups and among patients who received an ECD or standard-criteria kidney. The mean transplant waiting time for patients over age 60 receiving ECD kidneys was 18 months, compared with 25 months for those receiving standard-criteria kidneys.
At a follow-up of 27 months, survival among patients older than 60 was 91 percent, compared to 95 percent for those younger than 60. Survival rates of transplanted kidneys were 82 percent among patients older than 60, 83 percent among patients ages 40 to 59, and 87 percent among patients ages 19 to 39.
The survival rate for patients who received ECD kidneys was 93 percent, compared to 89 percent for those who received standard-criteria kidneys. Kidney survival rates were 82 percent for ECD kidneys and 81 percent for standard-criteria kidneys.
The study was published in the journal Surgery.
The National Kidney Foundation has more about kidney transplant.