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    Endothelial keratoplasty on the rise in northwestern Italy

    Endothelial keratoplasty has become increasingly common in northwestern Italy, paralleling a rise in the demand for corneal surgery, researchers said.

    The procedure offers advantages over penetrating keratoplasty, which it appears to be replacing, wrote Ugo de Sanctis, MD, PhD, Eye Clinic, University of Turin, Turin, Italy, and colleagues in the International Journal of Ophthalmology.

    Eye banks need accurate knowledge of the changes in indications and surgical techniques in order to plan for the future. Such information can also allow comparisons among surgeons in different countries.

    Researchers retrospectively reviewed indications and corneal tissue use for penetrating and lamellar surgery between 2002 and 2011 using tissues supplied by the Eye Bank of Piedmont in Italy.

    The bank received reports from eight surgical centres that performed more than 90% of the corneal grafts in northwestern Italy during the study period.

    For analytical purposes, the Dr. de Sanctis and his colleagues divided the study period into two 5-year periods: from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2006; and from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2011. They chose this subdivision because the majority of new surgical procedures were introduced in the early years of 2000.

    They found the eye bank supplied 3,615 tissues for corneal grafting during the study period: 1,567 during 2002-2006, and 2,048 during 2007-2011.

    Of the 3,617 surgical reports, 94.8% were complete enough to meet the researchers’ inclusion criteria. They found 58.1% of the patients were female and the mean age at the time of intervention was 67.2 years. In 49.7%, the surgery was performed in the right eye.

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