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Hilary Smolen Brader, Gui-shuang Ying, E. Revell Martin, Maureen G. Maguire, the Complications of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Prevention Trial (CAPT) Research Group; New Grading Criteria Allow for Earlier Detection of Geographic Atrophy in Clinical Trials. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(12):9218-9225. doi: 10.1167/iovs.11-7493.
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To evaluate new grading criteria for geographic atrophy (GA), as detected by annual stereoscopic color fundus photographs and fluorescein angiograms, and to assess whether application of the revised criteria provides earlier identification of GA than previous criteria involving only color fundus photography.
Annual fundus image sets from 114 CAPT patients who developed GA in the untreated eye during 5 to 6 years of follow-up were reassessed for the presence of GA, using revised grading criteria, in which GA was defined by (1) the presence of hyperfluorescence on fluorescein angiography; and (2) at least one other characteristic indicative of involution of the retinal pigment epithelium (i.e., sharp edges, excavation of the retina, or visible choroidal vessels on either color images or fluorescein angiograms). Reliability and time of initial detection of GA using the revised criteria were assessed.
The revised criteria are reliable (97.8% intragrader, 93.3% intergrader agreement) and accurate (false-positive rate, 0.8%) for detecting individual early GA lesions. Using this revised method, individual GA lesions were identified 1-year earlier on average than was possible with criteria used in previous CFP studies. The use of two imaging modalities was more sensitive in detecting GA and its features than either imaging modality alone (P ≤ 0.0001).
Early GA areas can be reliably identified when defining criteria are based on both color photographs and fluorescein angiograms. These methods can be used to investigate the natural history of GA earlier in the course of disease than previously possible and to facilitate the design of future clinical trials of treatments for GA. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00000167.)
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