"The availability of suitable donor lungs for transplantation continues to be a major obstacle to increasing the number of lung transplants performed annually," said researcher William Whited of the University of Louisville in Kentucky. "Research such as this that explores the means of expanding the donor pool is of critical importance."
Whited, along with senior author Matthew Fox and other colleagues queried the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) thoracic transplant database to identify lung transplant recipients age 18 years or older. Between January 2005 and June 2014, 14,222 lung transplants were performed. Of these lung transplant recipients, 26% were age 50 years or younger, with 2% receiving lungs from donors older than age 60. Among this group of younger patients who received older donor lungs, there was no significant difference in 5-year survival when compared to patients who received lungs from younger donors.
The researchers also examined the impact of double versus single lung transplant on long-term survival, finding that younger patients who received older donor lungs experienced much better outcomes when a double versus a single transplantation was performed.
The study showed that in younger patients who received a single lung transplant using organs from older vs. younger donors, there was a lower 5-year survival (15% vs. 50%). However, with a double lung transplant, there was no significant difference in 5-year survival (53% vs. 59%).
"This study demonstrated that reasonable outcomes are possible with the use of advanced age donors," said Whited.
The study is published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery. (ANI)