IMPORTANCE: Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) for isolated endothelial dysfunction has become the preferred surgical option for many corneal surgeons. However, there are limited large-scale reports on DSAEK survival and clinical variables affecting the risk of rejection and failure after failed penetrating keratoplasty (PK). OBJECTIVE: To report the survival, risk factors for graft rejection and failure, and visual outcome of DSAEK after failed PK. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A multicenter retrospective interventional case series included patients recruited from 6 tertiary referral surgical centers: 3 in the United States, 2 in Europe, and 1 in Asia. A total of 246 consecutive eyes (246 patients) that underwent DSAEK after failed PK, with a minimum follow-up period of 1 month, was included. Data comprising demographic details, preoperative and postoperative risk factors, time to rejection, time to failure, and corrected distance visual acuity were collected. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Cumulative probability of graft survival, hazard ratio estimates for survival, and corrected distance visual acuity were determined. RESULTS: The mean (SD) recipient age was 63.2 (16.6) years and the median follow-up period was 17 months (interquartile range, 6-30 months). One-third of the grafts (n = 82) had follow-up data for more than 2 years; 18.3% had more than 1 failed PK before DSAEK. In total, 19.1% (47 of 246) of DSAEK grafts failed. The cumulative probability of DSAEK survival after a failed PK was 0.89 (95% CI, 0.84-0.92), 0.74 (95% CI, 0.64-0.81), and 0.47 (95% CI, 0.29-0.61) at 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years, respectively. Based on multivariate analysis, significant preoperative risk factors for failure were young recipient age (hazard ratio [HR], 5.18 [95% CI, 1.57-17.18]), previous tube filtration surgery (HR, 5.23 [95% CI, 1.47-7.33]), and rejection episodes before PK failure (HR, 3.28 [95% CI, 1.47-7.33]); single-surgeon centers had a protective effect. Any rejection episode prior to PK failure was a significant predictor of post-DSAEK rejection, which in turn was a significant predictor of DSAEK failure. After a median follow-up of 17 months, 33.3%of the grafts achieved 0.3 or greater logMAR (20/40) corrected distance visual acuity. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty after failed PK combines greater wound stability and reduced suture-related complications, with visual outcomes and graft survival rates comparable to those of a second PK.
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