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Transplantation. 2007 Aug 15;84(3):285-91.

Immunosuppression of the elderly kidney transplant recipient.

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Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


The growing number of elderly patients with end-stage kidney disease awaiting transplantation has resulted in a corresponding rise in the number of elderly transplant recipients. In this paper, we review existing literature on age-related changes, transplant outcomes, and complications in the elderly in an attempt to propose a tailored approach to immunosuppression management in this group of patients. Despite the fact that the benefit of transplantation in the elderly is well established, clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of immunosuppression regimens are lacking. Until such data exists, immunosuppression of the elderly transplant recipient should be based on the traditional principles which guide all transplant protocols and consideration of factors that are unique to the elderly. There are limited data regarding age-related changes in immune function and metabolism of immunosuppression agents in this population. Results of registry data analyses suggest that the risk of acute rejection decreases with age; however, the impact of acute rejection on long-term allograft function is greater in this population. There is also an increased risk of infection and adverse events posttransplantation among these patients. Elderly patients are more likely to receive organs from extended criteria donors and the impact of donor factors on transplant outcomes must therefore be considered. Taking these factors into consideration, we propose an approach to immunosuppression in the elderly based on individual risk stratification of treatment failure and the potential for adverse events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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