Australian Angiogram Review Panel – monitoring the use of photodynamic therapy with verteporfin

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Abstract

Background

Photodynamic therapy with verteporfin for choroidal neovascularization (CNV) secondary to macular disease received an Australian government grant in 2002 to fund treatment for 3 years. Funding was restricted to subfoveal predominantly classic CNV where visual acuity was at least 6/60. Access to this funding was via review of angiograms by an expert panel, the Angiogram Review Panel (ARP), managed by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.

Methods

De-identified data from the ARP were obtained for the period June 2002 to April 2005 inclusive and the panel's outcomes were analysed. Health Insurance Commission and Department of Veteran Affairs data for photodynamic therapy for the same interval were also retrieved.

Results

A total of 7198 submissions to the ARP were received for 5867 individuals in this period. Overall 86.6% eyes submitted were accepted for initial funding (treatments 2–4). There was no change over time in the percentage rejected during this period. The first reviewer accepted 77.2%. And the second reviewer accepted a further 7.7%. An additional 1.6% were accepted on appeal. It was estimated that 29.2% of this initial cohort received five or more treatments.

Conclusions

The ARP data indicate an incidence of subfoveal predominantly classic CNV secondary to macular disease in Australia of about 2000 eyes per annum. Only one quarter of patients received five or more treatments. The panel provided a unique opportunity to estimate the ‘whole of nation’ incidence of predominantly classic subfoveal CNV secondary to macular disease and thus provides a firm foundation upon which to plan public health spending as new treatments become available.

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