Introduction: The effect of age on health outcomes in kidney transplantation remains inconclusive. This study aimed to analyze the relationship between age at time of kidney transplantation with mortality, graft loss and self-rated health status in adult kidney transplant recipients.
Methods: This study used data from the Swiss Transplant Cohort Study and included prospective data of kidney transplant recipients between 2008 and 2017. Time-to-event analysis was performed using Cox’ regression analysis, and -in the case of graft loss- competing risk analysis. A random-intercept regression model was applied to analyse self-rated health status.
Results: We included 2,366 kidney transplant recipients. Age at transplantation linearly predicted mortality. It was also predictive for graft loss, though nonlinearly, showing that recipients aged between 35 and 55 years presented with the lowest risk of experiencing graft loss. No relationship of age with self-rated health status was detected.
Conclusion: Higher mortality in older recipients complies with data from the general population. The non-linear relationship between age and graft loss and the higher scored self-rated health status at all follow-up time-points compared to the pre-transplant status -regardless of age- highlight that age alone might not be an accurate measure for risk prediction and clinical decision making in kidney transplantation.