[Antiviral therapy adjustment in corneal recipients using antibody testing in the aqueous humor].J Fr Ophtalmol. 2003 Apr; 26(4):350-4.JF
In corneal recipients with herpes infection, acyclovir given for 1 year postoperatively prevents viral reactivation and improves graft outcome. The indication for prophylactic antiviral therapy relies on the preoperative diagnosis of herpes. However, many patients present with corneal scars featuring sequelae of herpes without a proven history of herpes. Here we report the results of a prospective study of anti-herpes simplex virus (anti-HSV) and varicella zoster virus (VZV) antibody testing in the aqueous humor at the time of corneal transplantation to refine the indication of the antiviral treatment.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The study involved 33 keratitis corneal graft recipients, 21 of whom had documented herpes keratitis. A control group was made with 11 cataract patients. An anterior chamber puncture was performed just before surgery. The micro-ELISA test was done on both aqueous humor and serum, and local anti-HSV or VZV antibody synthesis was acknowledged if the ratio of antibody concentrations was above 4.
Local antibody synthesis to HSV was detected in 22 cases, to VZV in 9 cases, to both HSV and VZV in 6 cases, and no synthesis in 8 cases. The sensitivity of the test was 65% in patients with a documented history of herpes (14 cases out of 21). Among non-herpetic patients, the test was positive in 9 patients, who thus benefited from postoperative antiviral therapy. No viral reactivation was encountered after a minimum follow-up of 1 year.
Antibody testing in the aqueous humor at the time of keratoplasty is a convenient, inexpensive diagnostic tool in corneal recipients. It provides useful information before prescribing a long and expensive postoperative antiviral therapy.