Lung transplantation in the elderly: Influence of age, comorbidities, underlying disease, and extended criteria donor lungs

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Abstract

Objective:

As large registries show an increased risk for lung transplant recipients aged 60 years or more, few single centers report favorable outcomes for carefully selected older recipients without providing essential details. The purpose of our study was to determine variables that influence survival in the elderly.

Methods:

All adult bilateral first lung transplants between January 2000 and December 2014 were divided in 2 groups: those aged less than 60 years (N = 223) and those aged 60 years or more (N = 83). The Charlson-Deyo Index determined recipient comorbidities. The Oto Donor Score assessed donor lung quality.

Results:

Recipients aged 60 years or more had a significant lower median survival compared with their younger counterparts (48 vs 112 months, respectively, P < .001). Recipient age was as an exponentially increasing univariate risk factor for mortality. By adjusting for variables in multivariate analysis, this trend was nonsignificant. The displacing variables were idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (hazard ratio [HR], 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0–2.2), Charlson-Deyo Index 2 or greater (HR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.0–1.8), systemic hypertension (HR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.2–2.6), gastroesophageal reflux (HR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1–3.1), diverticulosis (HR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0–2.7), and an Oto Donor Score 8 or greater (HR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1–2.0). All of these risk factors were significantly more likely to occur in recipients aged 60 years or more, except for a tendency for high Charlson-Deyo Index.

Conclusions:

The comorbidity profile, underlying disease, and donor lung quality appear to be more important than age in reducing long-term survival. Older age serves as a marker for a complex constellation of factors that might be considered the relative or absolute contraindication to lung transplantation rather than age, per se.

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