Backgrounds: The elderly are the fastest growing segment of the end stage renal disease (ERSD) population. Older renal transplant recipients experience fewer acute rejection episodes than do younger patients. Despite this, death censored graft survival is no better in these older transplant recipients than in younger recipients. We examined the United States Renal Data System (USRDS) database to determine whether recipient age itself has an independent effect on the development of chronic allograft failure (CAF). Methods. We analyzed 59,509 patients from the files of the USRDS. To determine whether age was an independent risk factor for CAF, the population was analyzed separately for Causacians, African-Americans, and other ethnic groups. All renal transplant recipients from 1988 to 1997 were examined. Both univariate and multivariate analysis were performed using chronic allograft failure as the outcome of interest. Results. Actuarial 8-year censored graft survival was significantly decreased in the older age groups 67% for ages 18- 49 vs. 61.8% for ages 50-64 vs. 50.7% for ages 65+ (P<0.001). In the multivariate analysis, recipient age was a strong and independent risk factor for the development of chronic allograft failure in Caucasians (RR 1.29 for ages 50-64, RR 1.67 for ages older than 65). These findings were reinforced by an analysis that was restricted to living donor transplants without acute rejection. Conclusions. In Caucasians increased recipient age is an independent risk factor for the development of chronic renal allograft failure.
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