Detection of Potentially Severe Retinopathy of Prematurity by Remote Image Grading.
Importance: Telemedicine in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) has the potential for delivering timely care to premature infants at risk for serious ROP.
Objective: To describe the characteristics of eyes at risk for ROP to provide insights into what types of ROP are most easily detected early by image grading.
Design, Setting, and Participants: Secondary analysis of eyes with referral-warranted (RW) ROP (stage 3 ROP, zone I ROP, plus disease) on diagnostic examination from the Telemedicine Approaches to Evaluating Acute-Phase Retinopathy of Prematurity (e-ROP) study was conducted from May 1, 2011, to October 31, 2013, in 1257 premature infants with birth weights less than 1251 g in 13 neonatal units in North America. Data analysis was performed between February 1, 2016, and June 5, 2017.
Interventions: Serial imaging sessions with concurrent diagnostic examinations for ROP.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Time of detecting RW-ROP on image evaluation compared with clinical examination.
Results: In the e-ROP study, 246 infants (492 eyes) were included in the analysis; 138 (56.1%) were male. A total of 447 eyes had RW-ROP on diagnostic examination. Image grading in 123 infants (mean [SD] gestational age, 24.8 [1.4] weeks) detected RW-ROP earlier than diagnostic examination (early) in 191 (42.7%) eyes by about 15 days and detected RW-ROP in 123 infants (mean [SD] gestational age, 24.6 [1.5] weeks) at the same time (same) in 200 (44.7%) eyes. Most of the early eyes (153 [80.1%]) interpreted as being RW-ROP positive on imaging evaluation agreed with examination findings when the examination subsequently documented RW-ROP. At the sessions in which RW-ROP was first found by examination, stage 3 or more in 123 infants (mean [SD] gestational age, 24.8 [1.4] weeks) ROP was noted earlier on image evaluation in 151 of 191 early eyes (79.1%) and in 172 of 200 of same eyes (86.0%) (P = .08); the presence of zone I ROP was detected in 57 of 191 (29.8%) early eyes vs 64 of 200 (32.0%) same eyes (P = .90); and plus disease was noted in 30 of 191 (15.7%) early eyes and 45 of 200 (22.5%) same eyes (P = .08).
Conclusions and Relevance: In both early and same eyes, zone I and/or stage 3 ROP determined a significant proportion of RW-ROP; plus disease played a relatively minor role. In most early RW-ROP eyes, the findings were consistent with clinical examination and/or image grading at the next session. Because ROP telemedicine is used more widely, development of standard approaches and protocols is essential.