The old-for-old allocation policy used for kidney transplantation (KT) has confirmed the survival benefit compared to remaining listed on dialysis. Shortage of standard donors has stimulated the development of strategies aimed to expand acceptance criteria, particularly of kidneys from elderly donors. We have systematically reviewed the literature on those different strategies. In addition to the review of outcomes of expanded criteria donor or advanced age kidneys, we assessed the value of the Kidney Donor Profile Index policy, preimplantation biopsy, dual KT, machine perfusion and special immunosuppressive protocols. Survival and functional outcomes achieved with expanded criteria donor, high Kidney Donor Profile Index or advanced age kidneys are poorer than those with standard ones. Outcomes using advanced age brain-dead or cardiac-dead donor kidneys are similar. Preimplantation biopsies and related scores have been useful to predict function, but their applicability to transplant or refuse a kidney graft has probably been overestimated. Machine perfusion techniques have decreased delayed graft function and could improve graft survival. Investing 2 kidneys in 1 recipient does not make sense when a single KT would be enough, particularly in elderly recipients. Tailored immunosuppression when transplanting an old kidney may be useful, but no formal trials are available.
Old donors constitute an enormous source of useful kidneys, but their retrieval in many countries is infrequent. The assumption of limited but precious functional expectancy for an old kidney and substantial reduction of discard rates should be generalized to mitigate these limitations.