Healthy kidneys from elderly donors are often rejected, but even kidneys from donors 80 and older can function for years after transplantation, Italian researchers report.
The results were published online Dec. 15 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
“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,” Dr. Luigi Biancone, of the University of Turin, said in a journal news release.
Researchers analyzed results of deceased donor kidney transplants performed at the Turin University Renal Transplant Center between 2003 and 2013.
They focused on almost 650 transplants from so-called “extended criteria” donors — donors older than 60 and those aged 50 to 59 with certain risk factors.
After a follow-up of nearly five years on average, patient and kidney survival were comparable whether the kidney donors were in their 50s, 60s, 70s or 80 and older, the study found.
Five-year patient survival rates ranged from 88 percent to 90 percent. Kidney survival rates ranged from 66 percent to 75 percent, the researchers said.
Rates of kidneys rejected for transplantation were similar for organs from donors ages 50 to 79 years, but much higher for kidneys from donors 80 and older, according to the study.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more on kidney transplantation.