Recipients of nonkidney solid organ transplants (nkSOT) are living longer, and 11%–18% will develop end stage renal disease (ESRD). While our general inclination is to treat nkSOT recipients who develop ESRD with a kidney transplant (KT), an increasing number are developing ESRD at an older age where KT may not be the most appropriate treatment. It is possible that the risk of older age and prior nkSOT might synergize to make KT too risky, but this has never been explored.
To examine death-censored graft loss and mortality for KT recipients with and without prior nkSOT, we used Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients data to identify 42 089 older (age ≥65) KT recipients between 1995 and 2016. Additionally, to better understand treatment options for these patients and survival benefit of KT, we identified 5023 older (age ≥65) with prior nkSOT recipients listed for subsequent KT, of whom 863 received transplants.
Compared with 41 159 older KT recipients without prior nkSOT, death-censored graft loss was similar (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]: 1.13, 95% CI: 0.93-1.37, P = 0.2), but mortality (aHR: 1.40, 95% CI: 1.28-1.54, P < 0.001) was greater for older KT recipients with prior nkSOT. Nonetheless, in a survival benefit model (survival with versus without the transplant), among older prior nkSOT recipients, KT decreased the risk of mortality by more than half (aHR: 0.47, 95% CI: 0.42-0.54, P < 0.001).
Older prior nkSOT recipients who subsequently develop ESRD derive survival benefit from KT, but graft longevity is limited by overall survival in this population. These findings can help guide patient counseling for this challenging population.