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Arch Ophthalmol. 2003 Apr;121(4):442-50.

Prospective, randomized clinical and endothelial evaluation of 2 storage times for cornea donor tissue in organ culture at 31 degrees C.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital, and the Cornea Banks, Establissement Fran├žais du Sang of Saint-Etienne, Saint-Etienne, France.



To compare the endothelial and clinical outcome of penetrating keratoplasty with corneas stored in organ culture for up to 12 days (5-12 days; group 1) or more than 21 days (21-24 days; group 2).


We conducted a controlled double-masked trial. Storage durations were randomly assigned to the paired corneas, and endothelial cell density (ECD) was measured at the start and end of organ culture. Patients with a low rejection risk and preoperative ECD within the reference range were randomly assigned to 1 of the 2 groups and underwent an 8.25-mm penetrating keratoplasty (n = 25 pairs). Follow-up at day 5 and months 1, 6, and 12 included central ECD, morphometry, graft transparency, visual acuity, pachymetry, and complications. The main outcome measure was the central ECD at month 12.


At the end of organ culture, ECD of the group 1 corneas was higher by 273 cells/mm2 (95% confidence interval [CI], 178-368; P<.001). One year after penetrating keratoplasty, the group 1 ECD was still comparably higher by 227 cells/mm2 (95% CI, 43-411; P =.02). Graft transparency, pachymetry, and complication rate did not differ at any time. In group 1, visual acuity was better at month 1.


Shorter organ culture allows delivery of corneas with higher ECD. Recipients with ECD within the reference range and low rejection risk retain this initial benefit 1 year postoperatively. The higher endothelial cell capital may prevent or delay late endothelial failure, the leading cause of graft failure in these recipients. We therefore prefer short-term storage for such recipients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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