Editorials

Corneal transplantation in Britain

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6991.1347 (Published 27 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1347
  1. A B Tullo,
  2. P A Dyer
  1. Consultant ophthalmic surgeon Royal Eye Hospital, Manchester M13 9WH
  2. Consultant clinical scientist Tissue Type Laboratory, St Mary's Hospital, Manchester M13 0JH

    Organisation is good; clinical outcome should get better

    Over 3000 corneal transplant operations are performed each year in Britain, making this the commonest type of allografting. In most procedures a full thickness corneal button, about 8 mm in diameter, is removed and replaced. The change from using fresh tissue (within 24 hours of death) to stored tissue during the 1980s converted keratoplasty from an out of hours procedure to a mainly planned, routine operation. Cold storage (for up to 8 days at 4°C) and organ culture (for up to 30 days at 34°C) both allow for planned surgery. Organ culture allows a reserve of tissue for genuine emergencies and affords ample time for the required routine screening of donors for hepatitis B and C viruses and HIV. Extra advantages may follow the more widespread matching for HLA types.

    After initiatives in the United States, Denmark, and the Netherlands, Britain's Corneal Transplant Service, based on banks in Bristol and Manchester, began in 1986. It now offers to accept, …

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