Transplant Candidates of 70+ Years Have Superior Survival If Receiving Pre-Emptively a Living Donor Kidney

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The number of kidney transplant recipients over 70 years of age is increasing but detailed data on patient and graft survival in the modern era of immune suppression are few. 


A single-center cohort of patients of 70 years and older (n = 349) at time of kidney transplantation from 2010–2020 were followed until January 2023. 


The median age was 73 years with a median follow-up of 4.3 years. Fifty percent of recipients of a living donor kidney (LDK, n = 143) received their graft pre-emptively. Cumulative death-censored graft survival was excellent in the LDK group and reached 98% at 5 years vs. 85% in the deceased donor kidney (DDK) group. Primary non-function (38%) and rejection (43%) were the major causes of graft loss in the first year after DDK transplantation. Rejection-related graft loss was 4.6% during follow-up. Median recipient survival was superior in the subgroup of pre-emptively transplanted LDK patients compared to non-pre-emptively LDK transplanted patients (11.1 versus 6.2 years). Non-pre-emptively transplanted patients had a significantly increased incidence of infection (HR 3.81, 1.46–9.96) and cardiovascular-related causes of death (HR 3.35, 1.16–9.71). Pre-emptive transplantation was also associated with a significantly improved graft survival in the DDK recipients but this result was confounded by significantly better HLA matching and younger donor age in this group. 


Pre-emptive LDK transplantation in patients of 70 years or older confers superior graft and recipient survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1853
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2024

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