The purpose of this study was to report 1) demographic and clinical characteristics for US patients with keratoconus undergoing deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) or penetrating keratoplasty (PK) and 2) complication rates for the 2 procedures.
We performed a retrospective review of 2010 to 2018 health records for patients with keratoconus age younger than 65 years using the IBM MarketScan Database. A multivariable model adjusting for potential confounders was used to determine factors associated with receiving DALK over PK. Rates of complications 90 days and 1 year postoperatively were calculated. For select complications only (repeat keratoplasty, glaucoma surgery, and cataract surgery), Kaplan–Meier survival curves were additionally constructed over a period of up to 7 years.
A total of 1114 patients with keratoconus (mean age: 40.5 ± 12.6 years) were included in the analysis. Hundred nineteen received DALK, and 995 received PK. Regional differences exist, with patients in the north central United States having greater odds of receiving DALK than northeastern patients (OR = 5.08, 95% confidence interval, 2.37–10.90). Rates of endophthalmitis, choroidal hemorrhage, infectious keratitis, graft failure, graft rejection, postoperative cataract, glaucoma, or retinal surgery were all low at 90 days and 1 year. Complication rates for DALK and PK were both low beyond 1 year for repeat keratoplasty, cataract, and glaucoma surgery.
There are regional differences between DALK and PK utilization rates. In addition, DALK and PK complication rates in this nationally representative sample are low at 1 year and beyond, but further studies are needed to assess whether longer-term complications differ by procedure type.