Send to

Choose Destination
Liver Transpl. 2015 Dec;21(12):1465-70. doi: 10.1002/lt.24334. Epub 2015 Nov 6.

Functional impairment in older liver transplantation candidates: From the functional assessment in liver transplantation study.

Author information

Divisions of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
Division of Transplant Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.


The emerging epidemic of older patients with cirrhosis has led to a sharp increase in the number of ≥65 year olds considering liver transplantation (LT). However, clinicians lack objective measures to risk stratify older patients. We aimed to determine whether the short physical performance battery (SPPB), a well-validated geriatric measure of physical function, has greater prognostic value in older versus younger LT candidates. Adult outpatients listed for LT with laboratory Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score ≥ 12 underwent physical function testing using the SPPB, consisting of gait speed, chair stands, and balance. Patients were categorized by age ("younger," < 65 years; "older," ≥ 65 years) and SPPB ("impaired," ≤ 9; "robust," > 9). Competing risks models associated age and SPPB with wait-list death/delisting. Of 463 LT candidates, 21% were ≥ 65 years and 18% died or were delisted. Older patients had slower gait (1.1 versus 1.3 m/seconds; P < 0.001), a trend of slower chair stands (12.8 versus 11.8 seconds; P = 0.06), and a smaller proportion able to complete all balance tests (65% versus 78%; P = 0.01); SPPB was lower in older versus younger patients (10 versus 11; P = 0.01). When compared to younger robust patients as a reference group, younger impaired patients (hazard ratio [HR], 1.77; P = 0.03) and older impaired patients (HR, 2.70; P = 0.003) had significantly higher risk of wait-list mortality, but there was no difference in risk for older robust patients (HR 1.38; P = 0.35) [test of equality, P = 0.01]. After adjustment for Model for End-Stage Liver Disease-sodium (MELD-Na) score, only older impaired patients had an increased risk of wait-list mortality compared to younger robust patients (HR, 2.36; P = 0.01; test of equality P = 0.05). In conclusion, functional impairment, as assessed by the SPPB, predicts death/delisting for LT candidates ≥65 years independent of MELD-Na. Further research into activity-based interventions to reduce adverse transplant outcomes in this population is warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center