As a consequence of recent advances in heart transplantation, upper age limits for the procedure have been liberalized in many centres. It was the purpose of this study to compare post-transplant mortality, morbidity and quality of life in a consecutive series of 72 patients > 54 years (mean age, 57.6 +/- 2.7 years) with a control group of 72 adult patients < or = 54 years (mean age, 42.4 +/- 9.5 years) transplanted at one centre between 1985 and 1991.Patients were followed for 41 +/- 27 months post-transplant. Actuarial 1-, 5- and 7-year survival rates were 78 +/- 5%, vs 81 +/- 5%, 52 +/- 7% vs 66 +/- 6% and 46 +/- 8% vs 63 +/- 6% in patients > 54 years and < or = 54 years, respectively (P = ns). Causes of death were not significantly different between the groups. Patients > 54 years experienced significantly fewer rejection episodes after the 6th month post-transplant (0.5 +/- 0.9 vs 0.9 +/- 1.0, P < 0.04), and incidence and treatment of rejection episodes as well as incidence of infection was comparable between the groups. Non-lymphoid malignancies, mainly skin cancer, occurred more often in the older age group (27% vs 13%, P < 0.05). Quality of life, as assessed by the Nottingham Health Profile, was better in 5/6 dimensions of social functioning in older patients and the difference reached statistical significance for the dimensions of emotional reactions (P = 0.005) and sleep (P = 0.0005).In conclusion, carefully selected patients > 54 years can undergo heart transplantation with mortality and morbidity comparable to younger patients. Quality of life post-transplant seems even to be slightly better in the older age group.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997WX06100025
View details for PubMedID 9152659