Clinical issues in renal transplantation in the elderly

Tammy Hod, Alexander S. Goldfarb-Rumyantzev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Kidney transplantation is the best renal replacement therapy option and is superior to dialysis in elderly end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients. Furthermore, the outcome of transplantation in the elderly is comparable to younger patients in terms of allograft survival. The exact nature of this phenomenon is not completely clear. As the elderly population continues to grow, it becomes more important to identify specific issues associated with kidney transplantation. In particular, elderly transplant recipients might have a lower chance of acute rejection as their immune systems seem to be less reactive. This might predispose elderly recipients to greater risk of post-transplant infectious complications or malignancies. Furthermore, due to differences in pharmacokinetics, elderly recipients might require lower doses of immunosuppressive medication. As the main cause of graft failure in the elderly is death with a functioning graft and also considering the scarcity of donor organs, it might make sense to recommend transplanting elderly recipients with extended criteria donor kidneys. This approach would balance shorter patient survival compared to younger recipients. In conclusion, old age should not preclude ESRD patients from kidney transplantation. However, specific differences that have to do with immunosuppression and other aspects of managing elderly transplant recipients should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Elderly
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Outcome
  • Transplantation


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