Effect of Graft Attachment Status and Intraocular Pressure on Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty Outcomes in the Cornea Preservation Time Study

Am J Ophthalmol. 2019 Jul;203:78-88. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2019.02.029. Epub 2019 Mar 6.


Purpose: To examine the association of donor, recipient, and operative factors on graft dislocation after Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) in the Cornea Preservation Time Study (CPTS) as well as the effects of graft dislocation and elevated IOP on graft success and endothelial cell density (ECD) 3 years postoperatively.

Design: Cohort study within a multi-center, double-masked, randomized clinical trial.

Methods: 1090 individuals (1330 study eyes), median age 70 years, undergoing DSAEK for Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (94% of eyes) or pseudophakic or aphakic corneal edema (6% of eyes). Recipient eyes receiving donor corneal tissue randomized by preservation time (PT) of 0-7 days (N = 675) or 8-14 days (N = 655) were monitored for early or late graft failure through 3 years. Donor, recipient, operative, and postoperative parameters were recorded including graft dislocation (GD), partial detachment, and pre- and post-operative IOP. Pre- and postoperative central donor ECD were determined by a central image analysis reading center. Proportional hazards, mixed effects, and logistic regression models estimated risk ratios and (99% confidence intervals).

Results: Three independent predictive factors for GD were identified: a history of donor diabetes (odds ratio [OR]: 2.29 [1.30, 4.02]), increased pre-lamellar dissection central corneal thickness (OR: 1.13 [1.01, 1.27] per 25µ increase), and operative complications (OR: 2.97 [1.24, 7.11]). Among 104 (8%) eyes with GD, 30 (28.9%) developed primary donor or early failure and 5 (4.8%) developed late failure vs. 15 (1.2%; P < .001) and 29 (2.4%; P = .04), respectively, of 1226 eyes without GD. 24 (2%) of 1330 study eyes had early acutely elevated postoperative IOP that was associated with a higher risk of graft failure through 3 years (hazard ratio: 3.42 [1.01, 11.53]), but not with a lower mean 3-year ECD (mean difference 61 (-479, 601) cells/mm2, P = .77). History of elevated postoperative IOP beyond 1 month was not significantly associated with 3-year graft success or ECD.

Conclusions: Donor diabetes, increased donor corneal thickness, and intraoperative complications were associated with an increased risk of GD. Early acutely elevated postoperative IOP and GD significantly increased the risk for graft failure following DSAEK.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell Count
  • Cornea / pathology*
  • Corneal Edema / diagnosis
  • Corneal Edema / surgery*
  • Descemet Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty / methods*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fuchs' Endothelial Dystrophy / diagnosis
  • Fuchs' Endothelial Dystrophy / surgery*
  • Graft Rejection / diagnosis
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control*
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Preservation / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome