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Evaluation of Microbial Contamination of Corneal Transplants: One-Year Report From a French Regional Eye Bank

Khouani, Malek MD; Debellemanière, Guillaume MD; Malugani, Caroline MS; Gauthier, Anne S. MD; Pouthier, Fabienne MD; Delbosc, Bernard MD, PhD; Saleh, Maher MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000178
Clinical Science

Purpose: The aim of this study was to report the rate of corneal transplant microbial contamination in a single major eye bank and to identify the contributive factors.

Methods: The contamination rate of 1156 organ-cultured corneas harvested in 2010 in a single eye bank (EFS Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Besançon, France) was studied together with the following factors: age, sex, tissue-recovery method (single or multiorgan donors), death-to-excision time, excision-to-reception time, cause of death, positive serology, and endothelial cell count. Student t test for quantitative data was used for statistical comparisons between groups. Qualitative data were assessed using the χ2 test.

Results: The contamination rate was 5.5%. Most contaminations were of bacterial origin (77.9%), with Staphylococcus species (62.3%) being predominant. Fungal contaminations (19.1%) were dominated by Candida species (76.9%). Death resulting from cancer was related to a higher risk of corneal contamination (P < 0.001). The other factors were not related to an increased risk of contamination.

Conclusions: The rate of microbiological contamination of corneal transplants remains low. However, special caution should be exercised with grafts collected from patients dying from cancer. To minimize this risk, further studies on the antibacterial effect of the conservation media should be conducted in the context of increased bacterial resistance.

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*Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital of Besançon, University of Franche-Comté, France; and

EFS Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Besançon, France.

Reprints: Maher Saleh, MD, PhD, Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital of Besançon, CHU Jean Minjoz, 3, Boulevard Fleming, 25030, France (e-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

Received October 25, 2013

Accepted May 07, 2014

Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.