The Evolution of Living Kidney Donation and Transplantation in Older Adults

Theresa A. Rowe*, Jill Huded, Lisa McElroy, Daniela P. Ladner, Lee A. Lindquist

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Kidney transplantation is a good option for adults aged 65 and older with end-stage renal disease because it has been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality, improve quality of life, and is more cost-effective than other renal replacement options. However, older age has been a deterrent to access to the deceased donor waiting list, and individuals aged 65 and older have a lower probability of being referred to and listed for transplantation compared to younger adults. Because the deceased organ supply is limited, living donor kidney transplantation offers an effective alternative for older adults facing long waiting times for cadaveric organs. This article describes the evolution of living kidney donation and transplantation in older adults over 15 years using the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients database. Between 1997 and 2011, 28,034 kidney transplantations were performed in adults aged 65 and older. Living-donor and cadaveric kidney transplantation increased in older adults over the 15-year period. Offspring are the most common living donors in this age group, followed by unrelated donors (e.g., friends), whereas the most common donors in younger transplant recipients are spouses, siblings, and parents. The number of living kidney donors aged 65 and older is slowly increasing, although the total number of transplants in this age group remains low. The expansion of living-donor kidney transplantation in the aging population may offer a solution for organ shortage and thereby improve the quality of life of older adults. More research is needed to understand the older donor-recipient relationship and barriers to transplantation in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2616-2620
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • kidney transplantation
  • living donors
  • organ donation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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