Pneumococcal endophthalmitis after corneal transplantation: control by modification of harvesting techniques

TitlePneumococcal endophthalmitis after corneal transplantation: control by modification of harvesting techniques
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsMoore PJ, Linnemann C. C., Sanitato JJ, Binnion B
JournalInfect Control Hosp Epidemiol
Pagination102 - 5
Date PublishedMar
ISSN0899-823X (Print) 0899-823X (Linking)
Accession Number2651512
Keywords*Corneal Transplantation, Adolescent, Child, Preschool, Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control, Endophthalmitis / *prevention & control / transmission, Humans, Pneumococcal Infections / *prevention & control / transmission, Streptococcus pneumoniae / pathogenicity, Surgical Wound Infection / *prevention & control / transmission, Tissue and Organ Procurement / *methods, Tissue Donors

Between January and September 1986, 61 patients underwent corneal transplantation at a university hospital, and three (4.9%) of the patients developed endophthalmitis. Cultures of the donor cornea were positive for Streptococcus pneumoniae. The transplant program was stopped and an investigation begun. Review of corneal transplants in 1985 showed that S pneumoniae was recovered from only 1 (1.5%) of 66 donor corneas compared with 6 (9.8%) of 61 in 1986 (P = 0.045; Fisher's exact test). Investigation showed that major changes had occurred in the corneal transplant program in 1986 as a result of a new state law. Coroner's cases had become the source of most corneas; younger donors were available, and corneas, instead of whole eyes, were collected in the coroner's office, often by part-time technicians. All of the infected corneas had been harvested by part-time technicians, instead of the regular eye bank technician, and came from younger donors (mean age 11.8 years v 27.2; P less than or equal to 0.02). Based on these observations, collection techniques were modified to reduce contamination of corneas during harvesting. This included the use of surgical drapes and gloves, collecting the cornea without interruption, saline irrigation of the eye, and inversion of the eye chamber to ensure complete contact of the cornea with the antibiotic-containing media. The program was restarted, and there were no corneal infections with S pneumoniae during a one-year follow-up period.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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