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Trends and Surgeon Variations in Early Regrafts After Endothelial Keratoplasty: Analysis of the National Medicare Data Set.

Cornea 2023 Februrary 18
PURPOSE: The aims of this study were to determine national-level trends in early regraft rates and examine patient-level and surgeon-level characteristics associated with early regrafts.

METHODS: This was a retrospective, cohort study. We identified beneficiaries aged 65 years or older in the 2011 to 2020 Medicare carrier claims data set who underwent Endothelial keratoplasty (EK) and subsequently underwent an early regraft. The incidence of early regraft for each year was calculated and patient-level and surgeon-level characteristics associated with regrafts were examined using a multivariable regression model.

RESULTS: Of 114,383 EK procedures, 4119 (3.60%) were followed by an early regraft, with no significant variations in the rates between years (P = 0.59). Factors associated with higher odds of early regraft were Black compared with White race (OR 1.151; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.018-1.302) and the highest quartile of income versus the lowest quartile (OR 1.120; 95% CI 1.002-1.252). Factors associated with lower odds were female sex (OR 0.889; 95% CI 0.840-0.942), receiving surgery in a hospital-based outpatient department versus an ambulatory center (OR 0.813; 95% CI 0.740-0.894), and having a surgeon with the highest quartile of annual EK volume versus the lowest (OR 0.726; 95% CI 0.545-0.967). Early regraft rates among surgeons ranged from 0% to 58.8% with a median [interquartile range] of 3.13 [0-6.15].

CONCLUSIONS: We found no significant increases in the early regraft rates over the past decade in the United States. Patient male sex and Black race, ambulatory surgery center-based location of the surgery, and low surgeon EK volume were associated with early regrafts. Substantial surgeon variability in regraft rates may indicate opportunities for improvement through development of best practices on perioperative management and patient counseling.

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