When it comes to donating a living kidney, most hospitals suggest a minimum age of 18.But is there an upper age limit? Studies have shown that a kidney from a 6-year-old child is suitable for transplantation into an adult. In fact, many transplant centers don't have an upper age limit for kidney transplant recipients. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) provides data on the short-term complications of living kidney donation. The research on whether older people should be living kidney donors is promising, but also contradictory and, as the researchers point out, insufficient to reach a definitive conclusion at this time.
An analysis of 12 clinical trials found that patients who received kidneys from older living donors were less likely to be alive five years after surgery than those transplanted with kidneys from younger donors. Older people are still young enough to receive a kidney transplant, donate a living kidney, or become an organ donor. The chances of complications from the procedure and of an organ being rejected are the same in kidneys in all age groups. Older people who make a live donation usually donate their organs to a middle-aged or older adult they already know, although some donate anonymously.
In a study last year, Segev found that 93 percent of patients who received kidneys from living donors aged 70 and older were alive one year after transplant surgery, and 74.5 percent survived five years. After donating a kidney to Johansson at the Mayo Clinic last fall, Hall felt “a little pain, but not enough to take the medications prescribed by doctors.” However, people with older kidneys are just as likely to be alive 5 years after a transplant as those who receive younger kidneys. Sometimes, the kidney is lost due to rejection, surgical complications, or the original disease that caused the recipient's kidney failure.The United Network for Organ Sharing reports that 96 people aged 65 and older were living kidney donors in the United States. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and oldest organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease.
As for patients who received kidneys from younger living donors, 96 percent were alive every year and 83 percent at five years old, a result considered statistically equivalent.