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A Case Report of Complete Blockage of a Baerveldt Glaucoma Implant Following Insertion of a 3-0 Supramid Suture

Lee, Richard M.H., PhD, FRCOphth*,†; Bouremel, Yann, PhD; Eames, Ian, PhD; Brocchini, Steve, PhD†,§; Khaw, Peng Tee, PhD, FRCOphth

doi: 10.1097/IJG.0000000000001198
Online Articles: Case Report/Small Case Series

Purpose: The aim of this study was to present a case of a Baerveldt glaucoma implant lumen being completely occluded with a 3-0 Supramid stent suture.

Patient and Methods: The patient underwent Baerveldt glaucoma implant surgery with placement of an intraluminal 3-0 Supramid stent suture that acts to restrict flow across the device and reduce the risk of postoperative hypotony. Following suturing of the implant to the sclera, the device was flow tested. No flow was observed through the device tube and a significant ballooning of the tube diameter occurred with increased pressure on the device. The device was explanted from the eye and replaced with a different implant without further postoperative complication. The explanted device was assessed using custom microfluidic equipment in an in vitro environment.

Results: This phenomenon occurred despite using several different batches of the 3-0 Supramid stent suture and the device had to be removed and replaced with another device without complication. In vitro microfluidic assessment of the device demonstrated no flow across the device tube despite over 150 mm Hg of pressure being exerted on the device.

Conclusions: We hypothesize that the blockage occurred at the junction between the device tube and plate and that the ballooning phenomenon observed was due to a defect in the tube wall. This case highlights the importance of flow testing all glaucoma drainage devices before insertion given the variation in manufacturing conditions to avoid the risk of intraoperative complications.

*Department of Ophthalmology, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

UCL Department of Mechanical Engineering

§UCL School of Pharmacy, London, UK

This research has received a portion of its funding from the Department of Health’s National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Department of Health.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Richard M.H. Lee, PhD, FRCOphth, Department of Ophthalmology, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, 369 Fulham Road, London, SW10 9NH, UK (e-mail:

Received October 6, 2018

Accepted December 22, 2018

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