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BACKGROUND: The mean age of renal transplant recipients is rising, with age no longer considered a contraindication. Outcomes in older patients have not, however, been fully defined. The aim of our study is to evaluate outcomes in older people following renal transplantation at a Scottish regional transplant unit. METHODS: All renal transplants from January 2001 to December 2010 were analysed (n = 762). Outcomes following renal transplantation in people over 65 years old were compared to those in younger patients. Outcome measures were: delayed graft function (DGF), primary non-function (PNF), biopsy proven acute rejection (BPAR), serum creatinine at 1 year and graft and recipient survival. Lengths of initial hospital stay and re-admission rates were also assessed. Student's T-Test was used to analyse continuous variables, Pearson's Chi-Squared test for categorical variables and the Kaplan-Meier estimator for survival analysis. RESULTS: Older recipients received proportionately more kidneys from older donors (27.1% vs. 6.3%; p < 0.001). Such kidneys were more likely to have DGF (40.7% vs. 16.9%; p < 0.001). Graft loss at 1 year was higher in kidneys from older donors (15.3% vs. 7.6%; p = 0.04). There was no significant difference in patient survival at 1 year based on the age of the donor kidney. Recipient age did not affect DGF (16.9% vs. 18.5%; p = 0.77) or graft loss at 1 year (11.9% vs. 7.8%; p = 0.28). Older recipients were, however, more likely to die in the first year post transplant (6.8% vs. 2.1%; p = 0.03). BPAR was less common in older patients (6.8% vs. 22%; p < 0.01). Older recipients were more likely to be readmitted to hospital (31.8% vs. 10.9%; p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Older patients experience good outcomes following renal transplantation and donor or recipient age alone should not preclude this treatment. An awareness of this in clinicians managing older patients is important since the prevalence of End Stage Renal Disease is increasing in this age group.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Geriatr

Publication Date





Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cohort Studies, Female, Graft Rejection, Graft Survival, Humans, Kidney Transplantation, Male, Renal Insufficiency, Retrospective Studies, Treatment Outcome