Heart Transplantation With Older Donors: Should There Be an Age Cutoff?

Qiudong Chen, Jon Kobashigawa, Dominic Emerson, Tahli Singer-Englar, Dominick Megna, Danny Ramzy, Pedro Catarino, Alfredo Trento, Joanna Chikwe, Michelle Kittleson, Fardad Esmailian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Heart transplantation remains limited by donor availability. Currently, only some programs accept older donors, and their use remains contentious. We compared outcomes of heart transplant recipients who received donor hearts ≥55 years with those who received donor hearts <55 years. Methods: Records of first-time adult heart transplant recipients between 2010 and 2019 were reviewed. Endpoints included 30-day and 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival; freedom from cardiac allograft vasculopathy; freedom from nonfatal major adverse cardiac events; and freedom from any rejections. The effect of donor age ≥55 years was analyzed with Cox proportional hazards modeling, 1:2 propensity score matching, and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. Results: Sixty-six patients received donor hearts ≥55 years and 766 received donor hearts <55 years. In the unmatched cohort, there was no significant difference in survival between the 2 groups at 30 days (93.9% vs 97.3%, P = .127), 1 year (87.9% vs 91.6%, P = .325), 3 years (86.4% vs 86.5%, P = .888), or 5 years (78.8% vs 83.8%, P = .497). The ≥55 years group had a significantly lower freedom from cardiac allograft vasculopathy and fatal major adverse cardiac events. In propensity-matched patients, recipients of donors ≥55 years had similar survival and freedom from cardiac allograft vasculopathy but significantly lower 1-year (76.7% vs 88.3%, P = .026), 3-year (68.3% vs 84.2%, P = .010), and 5-year (63.3% vs 83.3%, P = .002) freedom from nonfatal major adverse cardiac events when compared to recipients of younger donors. Conclusions: Carefully selected older donors can be considered for a carefully selected group of recipients with acceptable outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2088-2096
Number of pages9
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


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