New analysis examines survival of older patients who undergo heart transplantation

Advanced age is often considered a contraindication for heart transplantation, but a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) found that post-heart transplant survival among recipients aged >70 years is not inferior to that of younger recipients.

The study included 37,135 patients who underwent heart transplantation, 806 (2.2%) of whom were >70 years old. Among patients >70 years old, the 1- and 5-year mortality rates after transplantation were 10.4% and 19.2%, respectively. After adjusting for kidney health, body mass index, and other factors, there was no significant difference in 5-year mortality between patients <70 years old and those >70 years old.

“Rising prevalence of congestive heart failure with age and our aging population demand a relook into the management of advanced heart failure in elderly individuals,” said lead author Abhishek Jaiswal, MD, of Hartford Hospital. “Our data suggest that advanced age by itself should not be considered an ineligibility criteria for heart transplantation; however, careful selection of such patients is warranted.”

For public education summaries of topical JAGS articles like this, visit the American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging blog.