Older donor lungs should be considered for transplantation

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With a scarcity of lungs available for transplantation, a number of studies have examined the use of lungs from donors older than 60, with new research showing the use of lungs from older donors achieves reasonable outcomes.

For the study, researchers examined data on 14,222 lung transplants performed between 2005 and 2014 from the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) thoracic transplant database.

On univariate analysis, donor lungs aged 60 years or more were associated with slightly worse five-year survival (44% versus 52%). Among recipients aged over 50 years, this trend was not present on multivariate model. Among recipients aged 50 years or more, receiving older donor lungs showed worse survival with the use of single lung transplant (5-year survival 15% versus 50%). There was no significant difference in survival between young and old donors when double lung transplant was performed.

The authors concluded that reasonable post-transplant outcomes could be achieved with the use of advanced age donors in all recipient groups. They added that double lung transplantation should be performed when older donor (age >60 years) lungs are used in young recipients (age ≤50 years).