Evolving Trends in Kidney Transplant Outcomes among Older Adults: A Comparative Analysis before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Yiting Li, Gayathri Menon, Wenbo Wu, Amrusha Musunuru, Yusi Chen, Evelien E. Quint, Maya N. Clark-Cutaia, Laura B. Zeiser, Dorry L. Segev, Mara A. McAdams-Demarco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Advancements in medical technology, healthcare delivery, and organ allocation resulted in improved patient/graft survival for older (age ≥65) kidney transplant (KT) recipients. However, the recent trends in these post-KT outcomes are uncertain in light of the mounting burden of cardiovascular disease, changing kidney allocation policies, heterogeneity in candidates' risk profile, and the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Thus, we examined secular trends in post-KT outcomes among older and younger KT recipients over the last 3 decades. Methods. We identified 73 078 older and 378 800 younger adult (aged 18-64) recipients using Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (1990-2022). KTs were grouped into 6 prepandemic eras and 1 postpandemic-onset era. Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine temporal trends in post-KT mortality and death-censored graft failure. Results. From 1990 to 2022, a 19-fold increase in the proportion of older KT recipients was observed compared to a 2-fold increase in younger adults despite a slight decline in the absolute number of older recipients in 2020. The mortality risk for older recipients between 2015 and March 14, 2020, was 39% (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 0.61, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.50-0.75) lower compared to 1990-1994, whereas that for younger adults was 47% lower (aHR = 0.53, 95% CI, 0.48-0.59). However, mortality risk during the pandemic was 25% lower (aHR = 0.75, 95% CI, 0.61-0.93) in older adults and 37% lower in younger adults (aHR = 0.63, 95% CI, 0.56-0.70) relative to 1990-1994. For both populations, the risk of graft failure declined over time and was unaffected during the pandemic relative to the preceding period. Conclusions. The steady improvements in 5-y mortality and graft survival were disrupted during the pandemic, particularly among older adults. Specifically, mortality among older adults reflected rates seen 20 y prior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1520
JournalTransplantation Direct
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 2 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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