NYMC Faculty Publications

Use of Donor Hearts ≥50 Years Old for Septuagenarians in Heart Transplantation

Author Type(s)

Resident/Fellow, Student, Faculty

Journal Title

The Annals of Thoracic Surgery

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Document Type


Publication Date




Second Department



BACKGROUND: The impact of using donors ≥50 years old on heart transplantation outcomes of septuagenarians is unknown, which may have a potential to expand the donor pool. METHODS: From January 2011 to December 2021, 817 septuagenarians received donor hearts <50 years old (DON<50) and 172 septuagenarians received donor hearts ≥50 years old (DON≥50) in the United Network for Organ Sharing database. Propensity score matching was performed using recipient characteristics (167 pairs). The Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazards model were used to analyze death and graft failure. RESULTS: The number of heart transplants in septuagenarians has been increasing (54 per year in 2011 to 137 per year in 2021). In a matched cohort, the donor age was 30 years in DON<50 and 54 years in DON≥50. In DON≥50, cerebrovascular disease was the main cause of death (43%), whereas head trauma (38%) and anoxia (37%) were the causes in DON<50 (P < .001). The median heart ischemia time was comparable (DON<50, 3.3 hours; DON≥50, 3.2 hours; P = .54). In matched patients, 1- and 5-year survival rates were 88.0% (DON<50) vs 87.2% (DON≥50) and 79.2% (DON<50) vs 72.3% (DON≥50), respectively (log-rank, P = .41). In the multivariable Cox proportional hazards models, donors ≥50 years old were not associated with death in matched (hazard ratio, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.67-1.65; P = .83) and nonmatched groups (hazard ratio, 1.11; 95% CI, 0.82-1.50; P = .49). CONCLUSIONS: The use of donor hearts older than 50 years can be an effective option for septuagenarians, thereby potentially increasing organ availability without compromising outcomes.