Renal transplantation in elderly patients. How to select the candidates to the waiting list?

Claudio Ponticelli, Manuel Alfredo Podestà, Giorgio Graziani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Today, old age does not represent a formal contraindication to kidney transplantation. Rather, there is evidence that in elderly patients renal transplantation offers longer life expectancy and better quality of life in comparison with dialysis. Yet, the results of renal transplantation in recipients older than 65. years are inferior to those observed in younger adults, death with functioning graft representing a major cause of failure. Therefore, the selection of aged patients is of paramount importance. Apart from the routine clinical and biological investigations, three aspects have been relatively neglected by the transplant community and may require a careful analysis in elderly candidates to transplantation: the presence and degree of frailty, the presence of comorbidities and the adherence to prescriptions. Although there are rapid and simple tests for assessing the degree of frailty in the elderly, there is no clear cut-off value to decide whether a patient should be accepted or not. With advanced age the prevalence and severity of cardiovascular events and other diseases tend to increase. The use of combined age-comorbidity indices may be helpful to identify patients at high risk of mortality. Another critical point is the poor unintentional adherence to treatment, often caused by forgetfulness and mild cognitive impairment. These drawbacks may be further enhanced by a high number of pills to take and by changes in the dosage or type of prescriptions. A careful screening of the presence and degree of frailty, comorbidity and poor compliance to treatment is highly recommended before admitting older candidates to the waiting list for transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-192
Number of pages5
JournalTransplantation Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Medicine(all)


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