Microbiologic study of organ-cultured donor corneas

Transplantation. 1998 Jul 15;66(1):120-3. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199807150-00020.


Background: Our purpose was to evaluate the sterility of organ-cultured human donor corneas at the time of surgery.

Methods: We studied 603 organ-cultured corneas. Of these 603 corneas, 409 (68%) were grafted and 69 (11%) were contaminated during storage.

Results: Contamination during preservation was either bacterial (65%) or fungal (35%). None of the tested antibiotics were effective against all of the 45 isolated bacteria. The risk of contamination decreased with death-to-organ culture time (P=0.008) and was higher for corneas excised in situ than for those enucleated (P=0.02). Corneoscleral rims were sterile in 99.3% of the grafted corneas. Deswelling media were sterile in 100% of cases. A 19- to 53-fold decrease in the percentage of rim contamination was assessed with organ culture as compared with hypothermic storage (previous studies, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: These results demonstrate the benefit of organ culture over hypothermic storage, because it allows contaminated tissue to be discarded.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • Cornea / microbiology*
  • Cryopreservation
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / physiology
  • Fungi / isolation & purification
  • Fungi / physiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Donors*