[Transplant endothelium and measuring corneal thickness after non-high-risk keratoplasty with briefly or long-term preserved corneal donor tissue]

Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 1999 Sep;215(3):169-74. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1034694.
[Article in German]


Purpose: The corneal endothelial cell density is essential for the pump function and the transparency of grafts after penetrating keratoplasty (PK). The purpose of this study was to assess corneal endothelial cell density after non-high-risk PK and to check for possible correlations with storage parameters of the donor corneas using two different storage methods.

Patients and methods: Endothelial cell density (specular microscope EM 1100, TOMEY, Erlangen) and central corneal thickness (ultrasonic pachymetry SP-2000, TOMEY, Erlangen) were assessed 6 weeks, 3, 6, 9 months and one year postoperatively in 168 non-high-risk PKs. Short-term-preserved donor corneas were used in 89 patients, whereas in 79 patients organ-cultured corneas were used. The donor trephination was performed from the epithelial side using an artificial anterior chamber. The postoperative treatment with topical steroids was standardized. The mean donor post-mortem time was 9.6 +/- 8.0 hours for short-term-preserved and 17.6 +/- 10.5 hours for organ-cultured corneas (p < 0.0001). The storage time was 71 +/- 49 and 380 +/- 167 hours (p < 0.0001), respectively.

Results: Endothelial cell density did not differ significantly between the two storage methods (p > 0.05). At 6 weeks postoperatively, the mean endothelial cell density was 2042 +/- 675 cells/mm2 for short-term-preserved corneas and 1972 +/- 522 cells/mm2 for organ-cultured corneas (p = 0.7). Endothelial cell density did not decrease significantly (p > 0.05) within the observation period of 12 months in both groups (after 12 months: 1868 +/- 957 cells/mm2 and 1638 +/- 643 cells/mm2, respectively). The mean corneal thickness was 542 +/- 50 microns for short-term-preserved and 541 +/- 55 microns for organ-cultured corneas and remainded unchanged during the follow-up of 12 months (542 +/- 42 microns and 521 +/- 43 microns, respectively). Neither the group of short-term-preserved corneas nor organ-cultured corneas showed a significant correlation between endothelial cell density or central cornea thickness with post-mortem time or with storage time of the donor corneas at any postoperative stage (p > 0.1).

Conclusion: During the first year after PK, only a small decrease in endothelial cell density was observed in comparison with the 6-weeks finding. The storage method does not seem to affect the short-term changes of endothelial cell density. Further long-term studies are necessary to assess the clinical relevance of these observations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell Count
  • Corneal Topography*
  • Corneal Transplantation / pathology*
  • Endothelium, Corneal / pathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Preservation*
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors