Purpose: To evaluate comprehensively the magnitude of suspected risk factors for corneal graft failure from any cause, failure from rejection, and immunologic reaction in patients at high risk for graft failure after corneal transplantation.
Methods: The records of the 457 participants in the Collaborative Corneal Transplantation Studies were reviewed. All participants had at least two quadrants of stromal vascularization and/or a history or previous graft rejection. Patients were followed for 2 to 5 years. Characteristics of the patient, study eye, donor, donor-recipient histocompatibility, and surgical procedure were examined for their association with the graft outcomes of failure from any cause, rejection failure, and immunologic reaction. Multivariate survival analysis techniques were used to estimate rates of graft outcome events and to estimate the magnitude of risk factors.
Results: Many apparent risk factors did not maintain their association with graft outcomes after adjustment for other risk factors. Young recipient age, the number of previous grafts, history of previous anterior segment surgery, preoperative glaucoma, quadrants of anterior synechiae, quadrants of stromal vessels, a primary diagnosis of chemical burn, and blood group ABO incompatibility were among the strongest risk factors identified for graft failure. Donor and corneal preservation characteristics had little influence on graft outcome.
Conclusions: Risk of graft failure varies substantially, even within a high-risk population. The number of risk factors present should be considered by the patient and surgeon when contemplating transplantation and planning follow-up.