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Influence of graft size on graft survival following Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty
  1. Vito Romano1,
  2. Adrian Tey1,
  3. Natalie M E Hill2,
  4. Sajjad Ahmad1,2,
  5. Claire Britten1,
  6. Mark Batterbury1,
  7. Colin Willoughby1,2,
  8. Stephen B Kaye1,2
  1. 1Department of Corneal and External Eye Diseases, St. Paul's Eye Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2Department of Eye and Vision Science, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Vito Romano, St. Paul's Eye Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, 8Z Link, Prescot Street, Liverpool L7 8XP, UK; vito.romano{at}


Purpose To evaluate graft size on outcome following Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK)

Methods Consecutive patients who had undergone a DSAEK for Fuchs endothelial dystrophy (FED) and pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (PBK) with at least 1 year of follow-up. Patients were divided into three groups according to the size of the donor trephine: <9, 9 and 9.5 mm. Main outcomes were postoperative best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and graft failure. Grafts were prepared using an automated microkeratome. For larger grafts (≥9 mm), a manual dissection of the residual peripheral ring of anterior lamella was performed before trephination. Donor age, endothelial cell density (ECD) and postmortem times; recipient details including risk factors, comorbidity, surgical complications and postoperative BCVA and graft survival were analysed.

Results Of 174 patients, 131 were included: 84 (64%) with FED and 47 (36%) with PBK. Mean preoperative and postoperative BCVA were 1.01±0.76 and 0.2±0.2 logMAR, respectively, at 12 months with 80.5% achieving 20/40 or better. Postoperative BCVA was significantly associated with ECD (p=0.005), PBK or FED (p=0.004), risk factors (p=0.007) and comorbidity (p=0.016). Eleven patients (8.40%) experienced endothelial graft failure; 17.86% for <9 mm, 7.69% for 9 mm and 3.84% for 9.5 mm trephine sized grafts. Graft failure was significantly associated with ECD (p=0.039) and graft trephine size (p=0.04).

Conclusions Larger grafts occupy a smaller chord length in the eye than the trephine size and are expected to provide 10%–20% more endothelial cells. Increased graft size and donor ECD is significantly associated with a reduced graft failure rate.

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