Significantly Higher Mortality Following Liver Transplantation Among Patients Aged 70 Years and Older

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Abstract

Introduction:

The age of liver transplantation recipients in the United States is steadily increasing. However, the impact of age on liver transplant outcomes has demonstrated contradictory results.

Research Questions:

We aim to evaluate the impact of age on survival following liver transplantation among US adults.

Design:

Using data from the United Network for Organ Sharing registry, we retrospectively evaluated all adults undergoing liver transplantation from 2002 to 2012 stratified by age (aged 70 years and older vs aged <70 years), presence of hepatocellular carcinoma, and hepatitis C virus status. Overall survival was evaluated with Kaplan-Meier methods and multivariate Cox proportional hazards models.

Results:

Compared to patients aged <70 years, those aged 70 years and older had significantly lower 5-year survival following transplantation among all groups analyzed (hepatocellular carcinoma: 59.9% vs 68.6%, P < .01; nonhepatocellular carcinoma: 61.2% vs 74.2%, P < .001; hepatitis C: 60.7% vs 69.0%, P < .01; nonhepatitis C: 62.6% vs 78.5%, P < .001). On multivariate regression, patients aged 70 years and older at time of transplantation was associated with significantly higher mortality compared to those aged <70 years (hazards ratio: 1.67; 95% confidence interval: 1.48-1.87; P < .001).

Conclusion:

The age at the time of liver transplantation has continued to increase in the United States. However, patients aged 70 years and older had significantly higher mortality following liver transplantation. These observations are especially important given the aging cohort of patients with chronic liver disease in the United States.

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