To evaluate the effect of patients' clinical information on experts' diagnoses of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and decisions to treat.Methods:
Seven experts assessed wide-field fundus photographs of eyes of 52 premature infants of ≤30 weeks' gestational age or ≤1,500 g birthweight (BW) for ROP diagnosis (stage, plus disease, and aggressive posterior ROP) and the necessity for treatment for 2 days. On Day 1, they were masked to all patient data. On Day 2, they were given information on gestational age and BW.Results:
A significant shift in the experts' ratings toward a less aggressive ROP grading stage (P = 0.006) and less frequent decision for intervention (P = 0.021) was observed after receipt of patients' clinical information. This was truer for heavier/less premature infants (gestational age ≥ 28 0/7 weeks or BW ≥ 900 g) than those with very low BWs/high prematurity (gestational age < 24 0/7 weeks or BW < 600 g) (ROP stage P = 0.009 vs. P = 0.399, treatment decision P = 0.022 vs. P = 0.648).Conclusion:
These results suggest knowledge of patients' clinical information influences the grading of ROP disease and decision for treatment. Retinopathy of prematurity staging seemed to be set at a lower level and the decision for treatment at a higher threshold for heavier/less premature babies. Our findings may have implications for further refinements in ROP assessment.