Age is a qualifying characteristic for lung transplant. It is essential to appreciate though that physiologic age should be the defining consideration, not chronologic age. A 73 year old with UIP who has been active without other significant medical issues (cancer, renal impairment, uncontrolled diabetes or sequel a thereof, significant coronary disease) is a better candidate for transplant then a 50 year old with any of these issues.
In our program the 1 and 3 year survival for patients between 65 and 70 is 86% and 74%. For patients over 70, 1 and 3 year survival is 94% and 72% respectively. These survival rates are equal or better than national averages reported in UNOS for all transplant patients of all ages. Appropriate patient selection and extensive screening of the older transplant recipient can identify patients who can achieve the full benefit from transplant. In the case of UIP/IPF it is imperative that the older patient be referred as soon as the diagnosis is made. This will assure that an appropriate evaluation can be completed and that the possibility of a single lung transplant can remain an option.
More information: Lung Allocation Score