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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 26 (2012), Issue 10, Pages 697-700
Original Article

It’s a Man’s World: Does Orthotopic Liver Transplantation in the Elderly Male Confer an Additional Risk on Survival?

Eoin Slattery, John E Hegarty, and P Aiden McCormick

National Liver Transplant Unit, St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

Received 25 September 2011; Accepted 18 April 2012

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in a well-selected population is a highly successful procedure, with one-year survival rates reported to be as high as 90%. Advanced age is considered to be a contraindication. Survival rates in patients >60 years of age appear to be comparable with those of younger patients. However, little objective data exist on the outcomes of patients >65 years of age undergoing OLT.

OBJECTIVE: To review the outcomes of OLT in the Irish National Transplant Unit in patients >65 years of age and to compare outcomes with patients ≤65 years of age. Second, to identify any factors that may provide valuable prognostic information regarding outcomes.

METHOD: Patients >65 years of age who underwent OLT since the inception of the National Liver Unit in 1993 were identified from a prospectively maintained database. Medical records were reviewed. Survival was compared with the overall cohort using the Kaplan-Meier technique. Independent variables between the two groups were assessed using logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS: Between January 1993 and December 2009, 551 patients underwent 639 transplants in the Irish National Liver Transplant Unit. Forty-three transplants were performed in 40 patients >65 years of age. Unadjusted one- and three-year survival rates for the elderly cohort were 77.8% and 64.5%, respectively. This compared with 93% and 85%, respectively, in the unselected cohort. Using Kaplan-Meier analysis, a significant benefit in survival was observed in patients ≤65 years of age (P=0.017). Similarly, when adjusted for sex, a significant difference was noted between the groups. Male patients >65 years of age had poorer survival compared with their female counterparts >65 years of age and all patients ≤65 years of age (P=0.02). There was no significant difference between the groups with respect to preoperative variables such as bilirubin, creatinine and sodium levels, and Model for End-stage Liver Disease score. A significant difference was seen in male patients >65 years of age with more than one comorbidity, compared with female patients and male patients ≤65 years of age.

CONCLUSION: Male sex was associated with poorer survival in patients >65 years of age undergoing OLT. Multiple comorbidities in elderly male patients should be considered a relative contraindication in patients being assessed for OLT.