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    Digital imaging screening may identify infants with referral-warranted ROP

    Telemedicine system could decrease number of unnecessary exams, identify children who need treatment

    Telemedicine system could decrease number of unnecessary exams, identify children who need treatment


    Take-Home Message: A telemedicine system for detecting retinopathy of prematurity in high-risk infants may help streamline examination and allow ophthalmologists to concentrate on those children with the greatest need.



    PhiladelphiaRetinopathy of prematurity (ROP) examinations conducted using a telemedicine system may streamline evaluations of children who are at risk of the disease.

    One such model tested in the e-ROP study—a multicenter, National Eye Institute-sponsored study with headquarters in Philadelphia—yielded high sensitivity and specificity values for detecting the disease in images taken by non-physician clinicians and graded by non-physician readers compared with examinations performed by ophthalmologists experienced with ROP.

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    “We are in the process of watching a paradigm shift from diagnostic examinations by ophthalmologists to ROP screening using digital image assessments by non-ophthalmologists,” said Graham E. Quinn, MD, MSCE, professor of ophthalmology, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

    Dr. Quinn credited this shift to the work of Anna Ells, MD, and colleagues who described referral-warranted ROP—specifically, any ROP in zone 1, any stage 3 or worse ROP, or the presence of plus disease, that was defined as “ROP of severity enough to require a diagnostic examination by an ophthalmologist to determine whether treatment is warranted.”

    This description of referral-warranted ROP is consistent with the Early-Treatment ROP recommendations of type 1 plus type 2 ROP, Dr. Quinn noted.

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