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Late-Onset Donor-to-Host Transmission of Candida glabrata Following Corneal Transplantation

Al-Assiri, Abdullah MD; Al-Jastaneiah, Sabah MD; Al-Khalaf, Abdulrahman MD; Al-Fraikh, Hamad MD; Wagoner, Michael D MD

doi: 10.1097/01.ico.0000164777.80879.07
Case Reports

Objective: To demonstrate the potential value of obtaining routine fungal cultures of donor rims at the time of corneal transplantation and instituting prophylactic therapy in culture-positive cases, even in the absence of clinical evidence of established microbial keratitis or endophthalmitis.

Methods: Interventional case report and literature review.

Results: A 69-year-old Saudi man underwent penetrating keratoplasty with donor tissue that was culture-positive for Candida glabrata. The postoperative course was complicated by slight override of the graft associated with an associated epithelial defect, but there was no evidence of microbial keratitis or significant anterior chamber inflammation. Following repair of the graft override on postoperative day 42, the epithelial defect healed. The subsequent clinical course was unremarkable until postoperative day 146, when a deep stromal infiltrate was present at the graft-host junction, associated with a dense endothelial plaque. Cultures of the anterior chamber were positive for Candida glabrata. Treatment with topical and intracameral amphotericin B and systemic fluconazole, along with topical corticosteroids and intracameral t-PA, was successful in eradicating the corneal infiltrate and resolving intraocular inflammation. Four months after treatment was initiated, there was no evidence of recurrent fungal keratitis or endophthalmitis.

Conclusion: This case provides support for the practice of obtaining routine fungal cultures of donor rims at the time of corneal transplantation and for the implementation of prophylactic antifungal therapy in culture-positive cases.

From the Anterior Segment Division of the Department of Ophthalmology, King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Received for publication December 3, 2004; revision received March 1, 2005; accepted March 2, 2005.

The authors have no proprietary interests in any products discussed in this paper.

Reprints: Michael D. Wagoner, MD, Medical Director, King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, PO Box 7191, Riyadh 11462, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (e-mail: or

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.