Br J Ophthalmol 85:1464-1469 doi:10.1136/bjo.85.12.1464
  • Original Article
    • Clinical science

Systemic cyclosporin A in high risk penetrating keratoplasties: a case-control study

  1. A C Poon,
  2. J E Forbes,
  3. J K G Dart,
  4. S Subramaniam,
  5. C Bunce,
  6. P Madison,
  7. L A Ficker,
  8. S J Tuft,
  9. D S Gartry,
  10. R J Buckley
  1. Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, UK
  1. Mr Alexander Poon, Level 5, 182 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002, Australia alexpoon{at}
  • Accepted 19 March 2001


AIM To examine the efficacy of systemic cyclosporin A (CSA) in preventing rejection and graft failure in high risk keratoplasty (PK).

METHODS A retrospective case-control study with 49 patients in both the CSA group and the control group. The patients receiving CSA were at high risk of graft rejection and failure. Controls were identified from surgical audit books and had high risk characteristics.

RESULTS There was no statistical difference in preoperative risk factors and the use of postoperative topical steroids between the two groups. The median follow up in the CSA group was 22 months and 27 months in the control group. One or more rejection episodes occurred in 18 out of 49 (36.7%) cases in the CSA group and 26 out of 49 (53.1%) in the control group. Graft failure from all causes occurred in 16 (32.7%) CSA patients and 18 (36.7%) control patients. Four (8.2%) of the CSA group compared to eight (16.3%) in the control group failed because of rejection. 22 (44.9%) out of 49 patients in the CSA group had side effects. In five (10.2%) patients, CSA was stopped because of the side effects; eight patients had elevated serum urea and creatinine and four developed hypertension. Minor side effects reported include gum hyperplasia, increased sweating, backache, nausea, feeling unwell, oral candidiasis, cramps, and paraesthesia of the extremities.

CONCLUSION These results suggest that the benefit of CSA over conventional therapy in preventing rejection episodes and subsequent graft failure is only moderate and did not reach statistically significant levels in this study. Considering the high frequency of side effects and the cost of CSA, a randomised control trial may be necessary to determine the true value of CSA in high risk penetrating keratoplasty.