NYMC Faculty Publications

Trends and Outcomes of Liver Transplantation Among Older Recipients in the United States

Author Type(s)

Faculty, Resident/Fellow

Journal Title

World Journal of Transplantation

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Last Page


Document Type


Publication Date




Second Department



BACKGROUND: The average age of recipients and donors of liver transplantation (LT) is increasing. Although there has been a change in the indications for LT over the years, data regarding the trends and outcomes of LT in the older population is limited. AIM: To assess the clinical characteristics, age-related trends, and outcomes of LT among the older population in the United States. METHODS: We analyzed data from the United Network for Organ Sharing database between 1987-2019. The sample was split into younger group (18-64 years old) and older group (≥ 65 years old). RESULTS: Between 1987-2019, 155758 LT were performed in the United States. During this period there was a rise in median age of the recipients and percentage of LT recipients who were older than 65 years increased ( < 0.05) with the highest incidence of LT among older population seen in 2019 (1920, 23%). Common primary etiologies of liver disease leading to LT in older patients when compared to the younger group, were non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (16.4% 5.9%), hepatocellular carcinoma (14.9% 6.9%), acute liver failure (2.5% 5.2%), hepatitis C cirrhosis (HCV) (19.2 % 25.6%) and acute alcoholic hepatitis (0.13% 0.35%). In older recipient group female sex and Asian race were higher, while model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score and rates of preoperative mechanical ventilation were lower ( < 0.01). Median age of donor, female sex, body mass index (BMI), donor HCV positive status, and donor risk index (DRI) were significantly higher in older group ( < 0.01). In univariable analysis, there was no difference in post-transplant length of hospitalization, one-year, three-year and five-year graft survivals between the two groups. In multivariable Cox-Hazard regression analysis, older group had an increased risk of graft failure during the five-year post-transplant period (hazard ratio: 1.27, < 0.001). Other risk factors for graft failure among recipients were male sex, African American race, re-transplantation, presence of diabetes, mechanical ventilation at the time of LT, higher MELD score, presence of portal vein thrombosis, HCV positive status, and higher DRI. CONCLUSION: While there is a higher risk of graft failure in older recipient population, age alone should not be a contraindication for LT. Careful selection of donors and recipients along with optimal management of risk factors during the postoperative period are necessary to maximize the transplant outcomes in this population.