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Rheumatoid arthritis-associated corneal ulceration: mortality and graft survival.

Ophthalmology 2013 April
PURPOSE: To investigate mortality and graft survival in patients undergoing penetrating keratoplasty (PKP) for rheumatoid arthritis-associated corneal ulceration (RACU), Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy (FED), and pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (PBK).

DESIGN: Case-control study.

PARTICIPANTS AND CONTROLS: Patients listed on the UK Transplant Registry who had undergone a PKP for RACU, FED, or PBK between January 4, 1999, and January 4, 2006. Comparative standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and causes of death were obtained from the Office for National Statistics.

METHODS: Outcome data were collected from the UK Ocular Tissue National Transplant database and supplementary questionnaires at transplantation and at 1, 2, and 5 years. Institutional review board approval for the National Health Service Blood and Transplant to undertake the study was obtained.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Mortality and graft survival.

RESULTS: A total of 3665 patients were included: RACU (117), PBK (1701), and FED (1847). Five-year survival of patients with RACU was 42% (95% confidence interval [CI], 26-56) compared with 76% (95% CI, 72-78) for FED and 55% for PBK (95% CI, 50-60; P < 0.01). The SMRs for female and male patients with RACU were 43.5 (95% CI, 19.5-63.3) and 12.2 (95% CI, 7.1-19.5), respectively, in comparison with 1.84 and 1.45 for patients with RA, respectively (P < 0.01). There were no significant differences in the causes of death among patients with RACU, FED, or PBK (P > 0.9), with infection the most common cause. The 5-year graft survival rate was 48% (95% CI, 32-62) for RACU, 59% (95% CI, 56-62) for PBK, and 84% (95% CI, 82-86) for FED (P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Mortality and ocular morbidity were significantly increased in patients with RACU. Accelerated immunosenescence should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with RACU, and a multidisciplinary approach to management is required.

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