Purpose: To determine the effect of routine use of prophylactic oral acyclovir after penetrating keratoplasty (PK) for herpes simplex virus (HSV) keratitis on recurrence, rejection, and graft failure rates.
Methods: Records from 70 consecutive patients who underwent PK for HSV keratitis at the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center between August 1, 1990, and December 31, 2000, were reviewed. Data collected included preoperative disease activity, duration, host vascularity, pre- and postoperative vision, and antiviral use. Particular attention was given to all episodes of HSV recurrence, graft rejection, and failure.
Results: Fifty-six patients (80%) were treated with prophylactic oral acyclovir after surgery. This cohort experienced fewer episodes of rejection (P = 0.006) and better overall graft survival (P = 0.04) than those who were not treated with prophylactic oral antivirals. There was no statistically significant difference in recurrence-free survival between the 2 groups (P = 0.22). Cox regression analysis failed to identify any single variable as a statistically significant predictor of recurrence, rejection, or graft failure.
Conclusions: Prophylactic oral acyclovir use after PK for HSV keratitis is associated with decreased episodes of rejection and improved graft survival.