Former US vice president Dick Cheney, a 71-year-old, received a new heart recently. He had been on a waiting list for more than 20 months but inevitably the operation sparked speculation that he had jumped the queue. Cardiologists told the Bloomberg news service that this was unlikely.
"The current process of waiting for a heart, being listed for a heart, and how donor organs are handled is the most transparent, clearest process that is really hard to corrupt," said Mariell Jessup, of the University of Pennsylvania. "It’s not the age, it's the mileage," she told Bloomberg. "Issues other than age determine how well a patient will do. A 70-year-old that has a heart transplant can expect an excellent probability to live five or 10 years or longer with a superb quality of life, as long as they don't have other medical problems."
However, Sharon Hunt, a transplant cardiologist from Stanford University wondered whether younger patients were being squeezed out by baby boomers.
"If more and more of the older population is on the list, they're going to crowd out the younger people," she said "It's going to be a huge problem, a tough societal issue that is going to get tougher." ~ Bloomberg, Mar 27