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Can the lungs of people older than 60 be used for transplants?

With a scarcity of lungs available for transplantation, the use of lungs from donors older than age 60 has been shown to achieve reasonable outcomes and should be considered as a viable option.  The availability of suitable donor lungs for transplantation continues to be a major obstacle to increasing the number of lung transplants performed annually. Research that explores the means of expanding the donor pool is of critical importance. 
 
In a study of 14,222 lung transplant recipients age 18 years or older between January 2005 and June 2014, 26 percent were age 50 years or younger, with 2 percent receiving lungs from donors older than age 60. Among this group of younger people who received older donor lungs, there was no significant difference in five-year survival when compared to people who received lungs from younger donors. Younger people who received older donor lungs experienced much better outcomes when a double versus a single transplantation was performed. The study showed that in younger people who received a single lung transplant using organs from older vs. younger donors, there was a lower five-year survival (15 percent vs. 50 percent). However, with a double lung transplant, there was no significant difference in five-year survival (53 percent vs. 59 percent).  
 
This study demonstrated that reasonable outcomes are possible with the use of advanced age donors.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.