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Keywords:

  • Activities of daily living;
  • age;
  • elderly patients;
  • lung transplantation;
  • United Network for Organ Sharing

This manuscript describes the functional status trajectory of older (age 65 or older) and younger (age 18–64) adults after lung transplantation (LT). After the implementation of the lung allocation score (LAS) in 2005, older adults became the fastest growing subgroup of recipients. Yet the impact of LT on physical function, a main determinant of quality of life in older adults, is unknown. We conducted a retrospective cohort study using United Network for Organ Sharing data on 4805 adults who received a LT during 2005–2009. We divided them into older (≥65; n = 774) and younger (18–64; n = 4031) cohorts. Functional status was measured by Karnofsky performance score (KPS). Mixed models estimated the impact of age group on the rate of functional decline starting at 1 year posttransplantation. We controlled for KPS at transplantation, gender, race, diagnosis, LAS and LT type. Age group was not associated with different rates of decline in KPS over time. On average, recipients who were older, received a single LT, or had a low KPS at transplantation had worse functional status posttransplantation when compared to their counterparts, but rarely reached disability at 48 months. Overall, LT had a positive and durable effect on physical function for both older and younger recipients.