Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK) Tissue Preparation: A Donor Diabetes Mellitus Categorical Risk Stratification Scale for Assessing Tissue Suitability and Reducing Tissue Loss

Cornea. 2016 Jul;35(7):927-31. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000892.


Purpose: This study assessed a novel diabetes mellitus (DM) rating scale in relation to its utility in reducing Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) tissue preparation failure.

Methods: A 5-point DM rating scale was defined, in which 1 demonstrated relatively good health associated with DM and 5 represented comorbidities associated with DM. A chart review from consecutive donors who had at least 1 tissue prepared for DMEK was performed. Using the donor profile, the first tissue processed from each donor was categorized according to the DM severity and if the tissue passed or failed the DMEK preparation. Failure rates per rating group were evaluated using logistic regression and odds of preparation failure.

Results: A total of 125 tissues prepared for DMEK were categorized based on the defined DM rating scale. Of these, 9 tissues were rated 1 (11.1% failure), 25 were rated 2 (0% failure), 31 were rated 3 (6.5% failure), 24 were rated 4 (16.7% failure), and 36 were rated 5 (30.6% failure). The odds ratios were significant for tissues rated as 5 and 3 (P < 0.05). No other rating categories were found to influence the odds of failure. A χ test comparing categories of low risk (1-3) and high risk (4-5) was also performed (P = 0.001).

Conclusions: The DM rating scale does seem to stratify the risk of preparation failure associated with the severity of DM and associated comorbidities. Inclusion of some diabetic donors for the preparation of DMEK grafts may be warranted given proper screening of the donor history and application of the rating scale.

MeSH terms

  • Cornea*
  • Descemet Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / classification*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology
  • Eye Banks
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tissue Donors* / classification
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting*