The use of heparin prevented postoperative intraocular fibrin-clot formation in the rabbit after vitrectomy and cyclocryotherapy. A low rate of postoperative intraocular inflammation was observed in our patients receiving phacoemulsification with heparin infusion solution (slit-lamp examination). To verify this effect a randomized, prospective study was performed using laser-flare cell photometry (LFCP) for measuring protein concentration in the anterior chamber.
Patients and methods: Seventy-two patients (49-87 years of age) were randomly assigned to one of the following two surgical groups (temporal clear corneal tunnel incision with phacoemulsification): group A: foldable silicone IOL (Chiron C10), no stitch (3.5 mm incision); group B: PMMA-IOL (Pharmacia 809P) with one radial suture (5 mm incision). Fifty percent of the patients in each group received, in addition to the regular phaco infusion, 1 ml of heparin sodium (-H = without heparin; +H = with heparin). Aqueous flare was measured preoperatively as well as on days 1 and 3 following phaco + IOL with LFCP (Modell FC-1000; Kowa Company).
Results: In group A1 (-H) or B1 (-H) the mean flare values (in photon counts/ms) increased from a preoperative value of 7.0 +/- 1.7 (mean +/- SD) or 6.9 +/- 1.2 to 20.2 +/- 3.1 or 20.1 +/- 3.0 on the 1st postoperative day, whereas they decreased again to 13.8 +/- 2.9 or 14.8 +/- 3.1 on day 3 following surgery. In groups with heparin sodium A2(+H) and B2(+H) the flare values only increased from 7.2 +/- 1.3 or 7.1 +/- 1.3 to 12.9 +/- 4.0 or 13.8 +/- 3.8 on day 1, and decreased to 8.0 +/- 2.8 or 8.8 +/- 3.0 on the 3rd postoperative day. The mean postoperative flare values were significantly lower in the groups with additional heparin (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Heparin sodium in the infusion solution during small incision cataract surgery showed an antiinflammatory effect in the early postoperative period. There was no significant difference between the two IOL materials.