The ganciclovir implant is effective for the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis. The device eventually runs out of drug, however, and must be replaced. We report our experience with exchanging ganciclovir implants during the course of a randomized clinical trial.
During our study, patients with newly diagnosed peripheral CMV retinitis were treated with a ganciclovir implant. The implant was scheduled for exchange at 32 weeks. It was exchanged earlier if progression of CMV retinitis occurred. Patient examinations and standard fundus photography were performed at 2-week intervals after the exchange procedure.
Twenty-six exchange procedures were performed. Twenty-two eyes in 15 patients received a second implant and 4 eyes in 4 patients later received a third implant. Cytomegalovirus retinitis was rendered or maintained inactive in 22 of 23 cases with more than 1 month of follow-up after the second or third implants. Complications after the second implant procedure included transient vitreous hemorrhage in 5 eyes, postoperative inflammation in 1 eye, and retinal detachment in 1 eye. Median visual acuity returned to 20/25 by 28 days and to 20/20 by 42 days. Complications after the third implant procedure included dense vitreous hemorrhage in 3 of 4 eyes. Median survival time after a second implant procedure was 89 days.
The initial ganciclovir implant exchange procedure is well tolerated with continued long-term control of CMV retinitis. Multiple reentries through the same wound may be associated with an increased risk for vitreous hemorrhage.
Martin DF, Ferris FL, Parks DJ, et al. Ganciclovir Implant Exchange: Timing, Surgical Procedure, and Complications. Arch Ophthalmol. 1997;115(11):1389–1394. doi:10.1001/archopht.1997.01100160559005
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