Purpose: To evaluate the French waiting list and the indications of registered patients, to compare the rates of registration, graft, and procurement between French regions.
Methods: In France, each patient with an indication for penetrating keratoplasty should be registered on the waiting list with his or her clinical characteristics. Those registered during 2000 and 2001 were included in the study. Data on transplantation activity from the waiting list were compared to data collected by a questionnaire on graft and procurement activities completed each year by medical teams.
Results: In 2000 and 2001, 6093 and 5505 waiting patients, respectively, were registered. For the same years, 3984 and 3457 keratoplasties were declared for the patients registered, but the questionnaires reported 4514 and 4388 grafts, respectively. The national registration rate was 96 per million population (pmp). The extreme values between regions ranged from 53 to 143 pmp. There was a significant correlation between regional procurement and transplantation rates (r=0.75, p=0.001) but not for registration and procurement rates, and not for registration and transplantation rates. The national registration rate was 27 pmp for pseudophakic and aphakic corneal edema, with extreme values of 12-64 pmp. The national registration rate was 24 pmp for keratoconus (11-37 pmp). A high patient turnover was observed between regions. Among the 11,598 patients registered, the most common indications were pseudophakic and aphakic corneal edema (27.7%), keratoconus (25.3%), and Fuchs'endothelial dystrophy (9.1%). Mean recipient age was 57+/-22 years (0-103 years). Among these patients, 14.1% had already received transplants at least once for the same eye (7.8% for keratoconus, 14.3% for pseudophakic and aphakic corneal edema, and 6.1% for Fuchs'dystrophy).
Discussion: Ophthalmologists will be able to register their patients directly on the waiting list, which will improve data quality for transplantation notification. Regional policies should be developed to decrease the inequalities of graft shortages between regions.