Risk Factors for Infectious Disease in Corneal Transplant Screening

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To identify potential medical and behavioral risk factors associated with infectious disease seropositivity in potential corneal donors using an extensive questionnaire completed by the next of kin.


Retrospective review of medical history and behavioral risk assessment questionnaire and microbiology data for potential corneal donors seropositive for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency virus, human T-cell leukemia virus and syphilis as compared to controls.


Tobacco use, cigarette smoking, chest pain and heart disease are each associated with corneal donor seropositivity (P < 0.05). Vaccination in the last twelve months is inversely associated with infectious disease (P < 0.05). Statistically significant factors associated with hepatitis C positive donors include: cigarette use, illicit drug use, chest pain, cardiac medications, kidney stones and lung disease (P < 0.05). Factors most often associated with transmission of this disease panel (such as intravenous drug use, sexual contact with prostitutes and history of blood transfusion) are often not identified by the next of kin in the questionnaire.


While there are questionnaire identified risk factors associated with seropositivity in this study, their clinical usefulness is unclear. Many factors crucial to the elimination of potentially infectious donor tissues are not identified in the posthumous history typically completed by next of kin. These questionnaires alone do not provide exclusion criteria for elimination of potentially infectious tissues from the donor pool.

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