To determine whether specific donor characteristics influence postoperative rebubble rate and 6-month endothelial cell loss (ECL) in Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK).
A retrospective analysis of a consecutive series of 857 DMEK surgeries using eye bank-prepared donor tissue was performed between September 2013 and April 2018. DMEK graft characteristics including donor age, preoperative endothelial cell density (ECD), preservation time, death-to-preservation time, and donor diabetes status were analyzed for correlation with rebubble rate and 6-month postoperative ECL. Subgroup analyses of donor age, preoperative ECD, preservation time, death-to-preservation time, preparation-to-surgery time, and diabetes severity were also performed. Statistically significant relationships between donor characteristics and rebubble rate or 6-month postoperative ECL were determined using Pearson correlation, one-way analysis of variance, t test, and χ2 analysis.
The overall rate of rebubble after 857 surgeries performed by 7 surgeons during the study period was 12.6%. There was no significant relationship between postoperative rebubble rate and donor age, preoperative ECD, preservation time, death-to-preservation time, preparation-to-surgery time, or donor diabetes status. The subgroup analysis of these characteristics also yielded no significant relationship with rebubble rate. There was also no significant relationship between 6-month postoperative ECL and analyzed donor factors.
Donor characteristics such as higher donor age, lower preoperative ECD (<2500), longer preservation time, and donor diabetes did not increase the rebubble rate or the 6-month ECL after DMEK. These results indicate that common surgeon preferences for donor tissues that are younger, fresher, with higher cell count, and without diabetes do not translate into superior postsurgical outcomes.