Nadeen Khoury, M.D. was a special contributor to this blog post. Dr. Khoury is a renal transplant fellow at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Her interests include kidney transplant in the elderly and pregnancy after kidney transplant.
One hot topic in the world of transplant has been what the appropriate cut off age should be for patients in need of a transplant. Across the globe, age criteria have been loosely defined. The American Society of Transplantation’s guidelines state “There should be no absolute upper age limit for excluding patients whose overall health and life situation suggest that transplantation will be beneficial.” This topic continues to be examined as the number of elderly individuals in our society has exponentially increased.
Trends in the national kidney waiting list demonstrate the dynamic of an aging population and their need for transplant due to End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
The prevalence of ESRD patients on dialysis is increasing among older age groups, as well. In fact, 44.5% of patients with ESRD receiving maintenance dialysis are 65 and older.
Based on this, it’s not surprising to learn there was a 325% increase in deceased donor transplants performed on patients 65 and older between 1997 and 2014, and a 380% increase in living donor transplants during the same period, according to the United States Renal Data Systems Annual Data Report.
If you are age 65 or older and in need of a kidney transplant, or a caregiver of someone who is, here are three key factors to keep in mind as you begin on your journey to transplantation.
If you're currently awaiting a transplant, has age been a factor in your care plan? If so, how?