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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

     

    “About 50,000 to 60,000 children at risk for ROP are born in the United States each year, but the risk is highest among the most premature—i.e., those with birth weights of less than about 3.3 pounds and those born before 30-weeks gestation,” he said.

    Further, less than 10% of the infants examined require treatment.

    This statistic is important considering the number of examinations these children would require. Screening for referral-warranted ROP using digital images, therefore, could substantially decrease the large number of “unnecessary” clinical examinations and identify the children who need to be treated, according to Dr. Quinn.

    Though, of course, there would have to be access to ophthalmologists experienced in ROP detection and treatment for those eyes found to have referral-warranted disease, he added.

    The e-ROP study

    The goal of the e-ROP study (Telemedicine Approaches to Evaluating Acute-phase ROP; (http://1.usa.gov/1ExzuRg) was to determine the validity, reliability, safety, and relative cost-effectiveness of a telemedicine system for identifying infants who have ROP that is sufficiently severe ROP to require a diagnostic examination by an ophthalmologist experienced with ROP.

    Primary outcome measures were the sensitivity and specificity of detecting referral-warranted ROP when grading digital retinal images using a telemedicine system and comparing those gradings with the results of diagnostic evaluations by ophthalmologists at the same session, Dr. Quinn explained.

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