"Provided by Kaiser Health News."
Robert Brown was healthy, willing and a good match: So why not give a kidney to his wife, who otherwise would need dialysis?
There was just one potential obstacle: Brown was 74, an age once unthinkable for a kidney donor.
For this retired psychologist from Columbia, that wasn't an issue. "I didn't think about the age thing, not at all," Brown said, describing his decision two years ago to offer a kidney to his wife, Sue, then 71 and ill with Fabry disease, a rare genetic disorder that can lead to a harmful buildup of fat in the kidneys.
For the Browns' physicians, what counted was the couple's physiological age - how healthy and strong both of them were - rather than their chronological age.
"We feel very strongly that healthy older adults should receive organ transplants and be considered as organ donors," said Dorry Segev, an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, whose colleagues operated on the Browns. Mny of the nation's transplant centers agree, at least in part. More than half of them do not have upper age limits for kidney transplant recipients.