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Special Article
October 1, 2003

Transplantation in Elderly Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Baylor University Medical Center, Baylor Regional Transplant Institute, Dallas, Tex (Dr Randall); Departments of Surgery, University of California, Irvine (Dr Cao), and University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa (Dr deVera).

Arch Surg. 2003;138(10):1089-1092. doi:10.1001/archsurg.138.10.1089

In abdominal organ transplantation, liver and kidney transplantation have become the accepted standard therapeutic options for patients with end-stage liver and kidney diseases. As an increasing number of patients are referred to transplant centers for evaluation, the indications for transplantation continue to expand. Those at the later stages of life are receiving life-saving and life-altering treatment in the form of liver and kidney replacement at an increasing rate. The purpose of this article is to review current data concerning solid organ transplantation in elderly patients and compare their mortality and morbidity with that of a cohort of patients similar in all aspects except age. The results will no doubt elicit debate concerning the equitable distribution of livers, kidneys, hearts, and lungs given a national shortage of available organ donors. These results also hint at another area of intense debate—whether it is ethical to consider healthy family members and friends as donors for this patient population.