Patients age ≤55 years had a significant prognostic factor for surgical failure in the univariate analysis (Table 4). The Kaplan–Meier survival curves by age group are shown in Fig. 2. When using the multivariate cox regression analysis, the results showed that younger age (≤55 years) was significant risk factor for surgical failure (complete success rate: HR, 3.717; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.349–38.461; P = .028; qualified success rate: HR, 7.246; 95% CI: 1.349–38.461; P = .021) (Tables 5 and 6).
We compared the outcomes of all patients according to their genders. The complete success rate of the patients of different gender was not statistically significant (P = .456, Table 4). As to the qualified success rate, there was also no statistically significant difference in terms of gender (P = .507, Table 4).
3.5.3 Previous operation history
Among the 40 patients, 2 had a previous operation history of trabeculectomy, 2 of phacoemulsification cataract surgery, 1 of phacotrabeculectomy, 1 of secondary intraocular lens implantation, and 1 of external approach retinal detachment reduction over 10 years ago. The complete success rates between patients with and without previous operation history were compared, and the difference was not statistically significant (P = .268, Table 4). The qualified success rates were not statistically significant, either (P = .565, Table 4).
3.5.4 Primary diseases
We compare the differences of complete success rates and qualified success rates by dividing patients into 3 groups: CRVO + BRVO group; DM group; and other diseases group, the differences showed no statistical significance (P = .568 and .520, Table 4).
3.5.5 Preoperative IOP
The complete success rates and qualified success rates between patients with a preoperative IOP of ≤40 mm Hg and those of >40 mm Hg were compared in this research, and the difference was not statistically significant (P = .884 and .980, Table 4).
3.6 Postoperative complications and treatment
Table 7 lists the postoperative complications. The most common postoperative complication was cataract progression, which could be seen in 12 eyes (30.0%). One eye developed drainage tube obstruction (2.5%), which had improved after obstruction removal by Nd:YAG laser. Two had fiber-wrapped tissues in the periphery (5.0%). One had vitreous hemorrhage and received vitrectomy (2.5%). Complications such as drainage tube displacement, drainage tube exposure, drainage tube erosion, retinal detachment, and corneal endothelial decompensation were not seen for a long time after surgery.
Research on pathogenesis, treatment, and prognosis for NVG has greatly developed in recent years. Over 40 diseases have been reported to induce NVG, among which diabetes, retinal vein obstruction (central or branch, ischemic), central retinal artery obstruction, and ocular ischemia syndrome are the most common. In this research, 13 and 9 patients have primary diseases of retinal vein obstruction and diabetes, respectively, accounting for 32.5% and 22.5% of the total proportion, respectively. This is consistent with previous literature. In this research, 35 patients have the chamber angles of all-direction N4 and only 2 have all-direction wide chamber angles. Most patients have entered stage III, namely, the angle-closure glaucoma stage, based on the current NVG stage.
Research has indicated that the AGV has fewer postoperative complications than other drainage devices, which can better protect visual performance.[22,23] MMC is an antibiotic produced by fermentation of Streptomyces caespitosus, which can inhibit fibroblast proliferation and prevent scar hypertrophy through interfering with DNA at the proliferative phase, thus maintaining the smoothness of the filtering channel. Chen et al[25,26] were the first to report applying MMC in trabeculectomy in 1981. Since then, antimetabolites have been extensively applied in surgery. MMC is also used intraoperatively in this research.
In NVG, as the trabecular meshwork is damaged permanently, the effect of medical treatment is poor. Nevertheless, medical treatment can play a role in protecting the optic nerve from damage, decreasing associated pain, and possibly improving vision secondary to IOP-dependent corneal edema before more definitive treatment can take effect. Recently, studies by Luo and Lai have shown the promising effect of gelatin-g-poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) carriers in antiglaucoma drug delivery,[27,28] giving ophthalmologists more options in treating NVG before surgery. Surgical intervention is indicated when medical therapy is inadequate to control IOP, particularly if synechial angle closure from neovascularization of the angle has occurred. The most important goal of antiglaucoma surgery is to construct target IOP and prevent intraocular hypertension from further damaging visual function, thus leading to irreversible visual impairment. In this research, 2 eyes had an IOP of >21 mm Hg 1 day after surgery. One of them was related to contact of the drainage tube with the corneal endothelium, and the IOP decreased after adjusting the position of the drainage tube. The other one may be related to long-term application of IOP-lowering medications, continuous intraocular hypertension, severe preoperative anterior chamber inflammatory response, and slow postoperative recovery of the anterior chamber. The IOP returned to a normal level 1 week after surgery after active symptomatic treatment. IOP 1 week after surgery and in the last follow-up was remarkably lower than that before surgery, with an average postoperative IOP of <21 mm Hg. The difference in IOP before and after surgery is statistically significant. Meanwhile, 2 to 5 types of drugs were used in the enrolled patients before surgery, with an average of 3.55 types. In the last follow-up after surgery, 2 patients had poorly controlled IOP after applying 3 antiglaucoma medications, which were well under control after cyclocryotherapy. A total of 2 and 5 patients had an IOP of <21 mm Hg after applying 2 and 1 antiglaucoma medications, respectively. Clearly, AGV implantation can safely and effectively decrease IOP. Moreover, most patients have well-controlled IOP without applying any medication.
In previous literature reports, Yalvac et al reported that the 1-year surgical success rate of the 38 NVG eyes receiving Ahmed valve implantation was 63.3%. Bai et al reported that the complete surgical success rate of the 36 patients undergoing Ahmed valve implantation was 80.6% after 18 months of follow-up, while the conditional surgical success rate was 91.7%. Netland carried out research with a sample size of 38, and they reported a 1-year surgical success rate of 73.1% and a 3-year surgical success rate of 20.6%. In the research by Shen et al, the surgical success rate 3 months after Ahmed valve implantation was 100%, which was then 90%, 85%, and 70% after 6, 9, and 12 months, respectively. Meanwhile, the 15-, 18-, and 24-month surgical success rates were 70%, 60%, and 60%, respectively. The conditional surgical success rate in this research is 77.5% upon the last follow-up. Thus, our research results are demonstrably consistent with these literatures. These rates are related to the operation of the surgeon; in addition, it may also be related to intraoperative combination with MMC to inhibit fibroblast proliferation, which conforms to the results from Perkins et al and Alvarado et al.
As is indicated by our results, the surgical success rate in patients aged below 55 years is lower than that in those aged over 55 years. Mermoud et al discovered in their research that NVG patients aged over 55 years had a higher Molteno surgical success rate than those aged below 55 years. Sidoti et al performed Baerveldt drainage valve implantation in 36 NVG patients and discovered that being young was a risk factor of surgical failure. Tsai et al and Takihara et al carried out filtering surgery on NVG patients and came to a similar conclusion. Therefore, we speculate that age is an important factor influencing surgical success rate. This may be linked with the stronger wound healing response in younger patients, making them more likely to develop fiber-wrapped in the periphery of the drainage disc, as well as more aggressive illness when the younger patients develop NVG.
Our results showed that the surgical success rates between male and female groups was not statistically significant, which is in agreement with a previous study.[29,35,36]
Seven patients in this research have had previous ophthalmologic operation surgery, but the results suggest that the difference in the surgical success rate between patients with and without operation history is not statistically significant. Ohnishi et al and Blankenship discovered in their research that some diabetics developed NVG after cataract surgery. The human lens has a barrier function to prevent angiogenic factors from dispersing into the anterior chamber. An increased number of angiogenic factors disperse to the anterior chamber after cataract surgery, which leads to rapid genesis and development of NVG and may reduce the surgical effects on NVG. However, 2 cases in this research who had once received cataract surgery have a good prognosis after AGV implantation. This finding is contrary to the previous conclusion, which may be related to the rapidly changing cataract surgery technology. It is generally considered that conjunctival scarring after filtering surgery may interfere with the formation of a functional filtering bleb. Honjo et al considered that intraoperative combination with MMC could improve surgical efficacy. In addition, 3 patients in this research have a history of antiglaucoma surgery; 2 of them had good IOP after surgery, while 1 had an IOP of higher than 21 mm Hg after applying antiglaucoma medications, which may be related to the conjunctival scarring after the previous operation.
Different opinions regarding whether primary disease in patients will affect surgical effects are noted in the present study. Every et al discovered in their research that the surgical success rate between CRVO patients receiving Molteno drainage valve implantation and those without CRVO was comparable. Mermoud et al suggested that surgical effects in diabetics were superior to those in CRVO patients. Hayreh proposed similar opinions, and he considered that patients with CRVO as the primary disease generally had more severe illness than diabetics and NVG patients, thus affecting the surgical prognosis. In this research, the difference in the surgical success rates among CRVO patients, diabetics and patients with other diseases is not statistically significant.
We find in the present study that the difference in surgical success rates between patients with a preoperative IOP of ≤40 mm Hg and those of >40 mm Hg is not statistically significant. In the research by Yalvac et al, patients with a preoperative IOP of higher than 35 mm Hg had comparable surgical prognosis to those with a preoperative IOP of lower than 35 mm Hg. Takihara et al pointed out 40 mm Hg as the standard for grouping, and the results also showed no statistically significant difference. These results were consistent with ours.
In our clinical follow-up, AGV implantation is associated with certain complications, with cataract progression being common. Fiber-wrapped in the periphery of the drainage disc is the most common complication after surgery, which is also an important reason leading to surgical failure. Sarkisan discovered in their research that nonrestrictive glaucoma drainage valves, such as Molteno, resulted in greatly fluctuating IOP after surgery, which resulted in a large amount of aqueous humor flowing to the periphery of the drainage disc within a short term. In this research, only 2 cases developed fiber-wrapped in the periphery of the drainage disc, with the occurrence rate of 5%, which is lower than the 15% reported in literature.[41,42]
Our study has several limitations that should be taken into account. First, our study is a nonrandomized retrospective study; second, the scale of sample size in our study was small; third, the average follow-up period was relatively short, despite efforts to contact patients directly or through their referring physicians; what's more, a lack of a control group was also a limitation in our study. As we mentioned above, NVG is blinding, intractable disease, which is difficult to manage. To date, plenty of researches have reported that as the follow-up time went on, the cumulative probability of failure increased. Similarly, NVG has a poor response to other Glaucoma drainage implant surgery except AGV, with variable success rates of 22% to 78%. Thus, in our study, although the success rate can maintain at a relatively high level, due to the short follow-up period, we cannot come to a conclusion that the AGV implantation can achieve good effect in the long term.
At present, the AGV and BGI are the 2 most widely used aqueous shunts in the world. So far, few literatures explore the clinical effect of these 2 aqueous shunts in NVG, thus, it would be of interest to compare the clinical outcomes between AGV and BGI in treating NVG. Future large-volume well-designed Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT)s with extensive follow-up are awaited to confirm and update the findings of this analysis.
Studies have shown that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is important in ocular abnormalities characterized by neovascularization, including NVG. Thus, anti-VEGF treatment has led to a new era in the management of NVG. Recently, numerous studies have compared clinical outcomes of AGV implantation with intravitreal bevacizumab injection (IVB) with AGV implantation without IVB in the management of NVG.[44–48] The success rates have been variable. Some researchers found that the pretreating with IVB can produce better results, whereas other studies found that the success rates of the 2 procedures were comparable. However, a meta-analysis article has shown that AGV implantation with the IVB pretreatment procedure has a lower hyphema complication incidence compared with the AGV implantation without the IVB procedure for NVG. Therefore, in our future research, we will continue clinical data of NVG patients, according to different primary diseases, stage of the disease, and treatments, to conduct prospective, randomized, larger sample size, and extensive follow-up clinical trials in order to find out a better procedure for NVG.
AGV implantation is associated with a simple surgical procedure, little intraocular operation, a high surgical success rate, and a low complication rate. Therefore, it is worthy of being promoted in the clinic. Age is an important factor influencing the surgical success rate.
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Keywords:Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
Ahmed glaucoma valve; influence factor; neovascular glaucoma; surgical success rate