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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Heparinised intraocular infusion and bacterial contamination in cataract surgery.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Heparin in solution reduces bacterial adhesion to intraocular lenses and a lower incidence of postoperative endophthalmitis has been reported with the use of heparin coated lenses. The safety of adding low molecular weight heparin to the infusion fluid during routine cataract surgery was investigated. Any direct antibacterial effect was looked for by culturing anterior chamber fluid samples taken at the completion of surgery. METHODS: A randomised, double blind, controlled study of 111 patients undergoing routine cataract surgery. Low molecular weight heparin at a concentration of 5 IU/ml was added to the infusion fluid in the trial patients. Samples from the anterior chamber taken at completion of surgery were cultured. Twenty nine samples of sterile infusion fluid were also cultured as further controls. RESULTS: No complications were found in either group, and no difference in observed postoperative inflammation in each group. In the heparinised group (n = 55) bacterial contamination was found in 31% of samples, compared with 27% in the no heparin group (n = 56) (no significant difference). CONCLUSIONS: There appears to be no direct antibacterial effect of heparin, and other possible mechanisms of action are discussed. Heparin avoids many of the drawbacks of traditional antibiotic prophylaxis and may have the potential to be a safe and effective addition to endophthalmitis prevention.[1]


  1. Heparinised intraocular infusion and bacterial contamination in cataract surgery. Manners, T.D., Turner, D.P., Galloway, P.H., Glenn, A.M. The British journal of ophthalmology. (1997) [Pubmed]
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