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Cornea and External Disease

Does corneal tissue quality change with donor history of sleep apnea?

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A donor’s history of sleep apnea is associated with a lower endothelial cell density (ECD) in corneal tissues, which could potentially impact the quality of the corneal tissue used for transplantation, according to a study.

Further research is needed to understand if and how this affects post-transplantation outcomes.

The study analyzed data from 50,170 corneal tissues donated by 25,399 individuals without sleep apnea and 5473 tissues from 2774 donors with a history of sleep apnea. Findings revealed that tissues from donors with sleep apnea exhibited lower ECD by an average of 51 cells/mm² compared to those from donors without sleep apnea (P < 0.001). Multivariate linear regression indicated that a history of sleep apnea predicted a reduction in ECD by 13.72 cells/mm² (P = 0.0264).

Secondary analysis highlighted that underweight and obese body mass indexes were significant predictors of increased ECD in donors without sleep apnea (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.025, respectively), while body mass index was not a significant predictor for those with sleep apnea. In a smaller subset of 10,756 tissues, sleep apnea did not significantly affect central corneal thickness.

The study concludes that a donor’s history of sleep apnea is associated with lower ECD, marking the first time this correlation has been identified in a large eye bank dataset.

Reference
Ramini A, Zhang N, Lee M, et al. The Impact of Donor History of Sleep Apnea on Corneal Tissue Evaluation Parameters. Cornea. 2024;doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000003588. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38886882.

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