Early Mortality Rates in Older Kidney Recipients With Comorbid Risk Factors

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There are over 60,000 candidates on the deceased donor kidney wait-list and the percentage of candidates over age 50 years continues to grow each year. National data have not previously been used to evaluate the association of comorbidities with mortality in older patients.


A multivariate analysis of 30,262 deceased donor primary kidney recipients aged 18–59 years and 8,895 aged ≥60 years evaluated the association of six recipient comorbidities on 90- and 365-day patient mortality rates. The additional effects of expanded criteria donors (ECD) and development of delayed graft function (DGF) were also evaluated.


The 365-day mortality rate for recipients aged ≥60 years (10.5%) was more than twice that of recipients aged 18–59 years (4.4%) and comorbidities significantly increased mortality rates even higher (10.6–21.4%). The 365-day mortality rate for recipients aged ≥60 years who received an ECD kidney was 14.4% and who developed DGF was 15.9% while recipients with comorbidities but no DGF and no ECD ranged from 16.0 to 42.3%. The 365-day transplant mortality rate of recipients aged ≥60 years with comorbidities is higher than the 365-day wait-list mortality for patients with the same comorbidities, suggesting a lack of survival benefit from transplantation.


Mortality rates for patients aged ≥60 years with comorbidities are higher than for those without comorbidities, significantly higher than for younger patients, and higher than for wait-listed patients. Thus, utility may be poorly served by allocating kidneys to older patients with comorbidities, and perhaps discussion of exclusionary listing criteria is warranted.

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