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Publication Detail
Cross-Country Transportation Efficacy and Clinical Outcomes of Preloaded Large-Diameter Ultra-Thin Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty Grafts
PURPOSE: To evaluate the clinical outcomes of preloaded large-diameter ultra-thin grafts for Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (UT-DSAEK) after cross-country shipment. METHODS: A laboratory study in an eye bank and a clinical cohort study in an academic tertiary care center were performed. UT-DSAEK (9.5 mm diameter) grafts (n = 7) were prepared, loaded into a commercial device (iGlide; Eurobio, Les Ulis, France), preserved for 4 days at room temperature in transport medium, and analyzed. In a retrospective study, preloaded tissues (n = 39) for clinical use were prepared, transported from Italy to the United Kingdom, and surgically delivered into the eyes of patients undergoing UT-DSAEK. Central and peripheral endothelial cell density (ECD) and viability were measured before and after loading and storage of the grafts in the laboratory study. Clinically, best-corrected visual acuity, ECD before and at final follow-up, dislocation rate, primary graft failure, and surgical time were recorded. RESULTS: In the laboratory study, postcut central graft thickness was 93.3 ± 17.2 μm. ECD and cell mortality did not change significantly before and after preservation (P = 0.8). Cell loss after 4 days of preservation was 1.7% ± 1.6%. Clinically, 39 eyes of 39 patients at final follow-up showed a mean central graft thickness of 88 ± 22 μm and a best-corrected visual acuity of 0.34 ± 0.24 logMAR. Nine of 39 cases (23%) needed rebubbling, and 28% cell loss was observed at final follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Large-diameter UT-DSAEK grafts can be prepared and preloaded in the eye bank using the iGlide and transported to the surgical center facilitating surgery for patients undergoing UT-DSAEK, potentially reducing tissue wastage, surgical time, and costs related to surgery.
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