Outcomes of Older Patients in the Recent Era of Heart Kidney Transplantation

Lynn R. Punnoose, Swati Rao, Mythili M. Ghanta, Sunil S. Karhadkar, Rene Alvarez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background and Objective: Variable age thresholds are often used at transplant centers for simultaneous heart and kidney transplantation (HKT). We hypothesize that selected older recipients enjoy comparable outcome to younger recipients in the current era of HKT. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of HKT outcomes in the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) registry from 2006 to 2018, classifying patients by age at transplant as ≥ 65 or < 65 years. The primary outcome was patient death. Secondary outcomes included all-cause kidney graft failure and death-censored kidney allograft failure. Results: Of 973 patients, 774 (80%) were younger than 65 years (mean 52 ± 10 years) and 199 (20%) were 65 years or older (mean 67 ± 2 years). The older HKT cohort had fewer blacks (22% vs 35%, P = .01) and women (12 vs 18%, P = .04). Fewer older patients received dialysis (30% vs 54%, P < .001) and mechanical support (36% vs 45%, P = .03) before HKT. Older recipients received organs from slightly older donors. The median follow-up time was shorter for patients 65 years or older than for the younger group (2.3 vs 3.3 years, P < .001). Patient survival was similar between the groups (mean 8.8 vs 9.8 years, P = .3), with the most common causes of death being cardiovascular (29%) and infectious complications (28%). There was no difference in all-cause kidney graft survival (mean 8.7 vs 9.3 years, P = .8). Most commonly, recipients died with a functional renal allograft (59.8%), and this occurred more commonly in older patients (81.4% vs 54.8%, P = .001). Cox proportional hazard modeling showed that higher donor age (hazard ratio [HR] 1.015, P = .01; HR 1.022, P = .02) and use of pre-transplant dialysis (HR 1.5, P = .004; HR 1.8, P = .006) increased the risk for both all-cause and death-censored kidney allograft failure, respectively. Conclusions: Our study showed that carefully selected older patients have outcomes similar to those of a younger cohort and argues for comprehensive evaluation of the recipients with age as part of comorbidity assessment rather than use of an arbitrary age threshold for candidacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-347
Number of pages7
JournalTransplantation proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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