Older patients are often ruled out of transplantation because of limited donor supply and lower survival rates but a new study has revealed that some patients can safely undergo lung transplantation and have good outcomes.
The study at UCLA Medical Centre suggests that select patients aged 65 and above could safely undergo the transplantation procedure.
'Over the past decade, various reports have shown that older recipients undergoing all types of solid-organ transplantation can have good outcomes,' said study co-author Dr. Abbas Ardehali, associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery and director of the UCLA Lung Transplant Program.
'We wanted to define the short- and medium-term outcomes of lung transplantation in these older patients to determine whether the outcomes were acceptable,' he added.
The researchers reviewed the records of UCLA patients with ages of 65 and 72, who received lung transplants between March 2000 and September 2006, which was later compared to 50 patients younger than 65.
The early survival rate of the older patients was 95.7 percent, compared with 95.9 percent for the younger group.
The findings revealed that older patients were more likely to receive single-lung transplants and to receive non-standard lungs. Non-standard lungs are those considered 'less than perfect' but still acceptable for transplantation.
It also suggest that the increased mortality rate among older patients during the period from one month to one year following transplantation was due predominantly to infection and may result from the gradual deterioration of the immune system with age.
The findings are reported in the February issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.