Purpose: To investigate the key factors associated with eyes with an endothelial cell density (ECD) of ≥2000 cells/mm at 5 years after corneal transplantation.
Methods: This retrospective cohort study included 174 eyes that underwent penetrating keratoplasty by 1 corneal specialist surgeon at the Baptist Eye Institute, Kyoto, Japan, from 1998 through 2011 and that were carefully followed for over 5 years postoperative. In all operated eyes, corneal ECD was measured at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 years postoperative. Multivariate analysis with adjustment for preoperative donor ECD was performed between eyes with an ECD of ≥2000 cells/mm and those with an ECD of <2000 cells/mm at 5 years postoperative.
Results: Of the 174 eligible eyes, 16 eyes (9.2%) had an ECD of ≥2000 cells/mm at 5 years postoperative, and the annual rate of endothelial cell loss (mean ± SD) was 2.3% ± 3.7%. Multivariate analysis findings revealed that the donor-associated and surgery-related factors were not significant factors. Only the recipient diagnosis of bullous keratopathy was significantly associated with an ECD of <2000 cells/mm at 5 years postoperative. Of those 16 eyes, 6 (37.5%) had a recipient diagnosis of bullous keratopathy.
Conclusions: None of the donor- and surgery-related factors, previously recognized as associated with a lower endothelial cell loss after penetrating keratoplasty, were found to be significant in this study, thus suggesting that there are still unknown factors associated with maintaining a higher ECD over the long-term postoperative period.