Risk Factors for Repeat Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty Graft Failure

Eyal Cohen*, Michael Mimouni, Nir Sorkin, Tanya Trinh, Gisella Santaella, Clara C. Chan, David S. Rootman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate repeat Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (re-DMEK) success rates and to identify risk factors for re-DMEK failure. Design: Retrospective case series. Methods: Settings: Institutional. Patients and interventions: A chart review was performed, including all eyes with primary DMEK failure that underwent re-DMEK between 2013 and 2019 at the Toronto Western Hospital and the Kensington Eye Institute (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and had at least 6 months of follow-up. Main outcome measure: Predicting factors for re-DMEK outcome. Results: Of 590 consecutive DMEK surgeries, 40 eyes (6.7%) were identified for having a secondary DMEK surgery after primary DMEK failure. Etiologies for primary DMEK were Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (32.5%), pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (35%), previous failed graft (27.5%), and other indications (5%). Fifty-five percent of the cohort were categorized as having a complicated anterior segment including 11 eyes with previous glaucoma surgery, 7 eyes post–penetrating keratoplasty, 4 eyes post–Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty, 3 eyes peripheral anterior synechia, 3 eyes previous pars plana vitrectomy, 2 eyes aphakia, and 1 eye each with aniridia, anterior chamber intraocular lens, and iris-fixated intraocular lens. Re-DMEK failure was documented in 12 eyes (30%) of the entire cohort. The risk factor for re-DMEK failure was the presence of a complicated anterior segment (P =.01, odds ratio = 17.0 [95% confidence interval: 1.92-150.85]), with 50% re-DMEK failure rate in this subgroup. Conclusion: Re-DMEK is a viable option for cases of primary DMEK failure, especially for eyes with Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy as the indication for primary DMEK without other ocular morbidities; however, eyes categorized with a complicated anterior segment had high re-DMEK failure rates.</ABSTRACT>

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology
StatePublished - Jun 2021


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