Heindl LM, Riss S, Bachmann BO, Laaser K, Kruse FE, Cursiefen C (2011):
SPLIT CORNEA TRANSPLANTATION FOR 2 RECIPIENTS. A NEW STRATEGY TO REDUCE CORNEAL TISSUE COST AND SHORTAGE. Ophthalmology 118, 294-301
To evaluate the feasibility of using a single donor cornea for 2 recipients by combining deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) and Descemet's membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) surgeries on the same day.
Single-center, nonrandomized, prospective, interventional case series.
Twelve consecutive donor corneas were scheduled for split cornea transplantation combining DALK for a keratoconus patient and DMEK for a Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy patient on the same surgery day.
First, a big-bubble DALK procedure was performed for the keratoconus eye. When bare Descemet's membrane was prepared successfully requiring no conversion to penetrating keratoplasty (PK), then during surgery the donor, endothelium-Descemet's membrane layer was removed and stored for subsequent DMEK in a second patient, and the remaining anterior lamella of the donor cornea was used to complete the DALK surgery. Afterward, a DMEK procedure was performed on the second patient with Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy, grafting the stored endothelium-Descemet's membrane layer of the original donor button.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Success of using a single donor cornea for 2 recipient eyes, best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (BSCVA), and complication rates within 6 months follow-up.
A single donor cornea could be used for 2 recipients in 10 of 12 donor buttons (83%). In 2 cases (17%), the DALK procedure had to be converted to PK requiring a full-thickness corneal graft. Therefore, 10 donor corneas (45%) could be saved. Six months after surgery, mean BSCVA was 20/35 (range, 20/50-20/25) in 10 eyes that underwent successful DALK, 20/50 (range, 20/63-20/40) in 2 eyes that underwent conversion from DALK to PK, and 20/31 (range, 20/50-20/16) in 10 eyes that underwent DMEK. Postoperative complications after DALK included Descemet's folds in 3 eyes (30%) and epitheliopathy in 2 eyes (20%). After DMEK, partial graft detachment occurred in 5 eyes (50%) and was managed successfully with intracameral air reinjection. All corneas remained clear up to 6 months after surgery.
Split use of donor corneal tissue for combined DALK and DMEK procedures in 2 recipients on the same surgery day is a promising strategy to reduce donor shortage and cost in corneal transplantation surgery in the future.