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Associations of systemic health and medication use with the enlargement rate of geographic atrophy in age-related macular degeneration

, Yangyiran Xie, Mengyuan Sun, Aneesha Ahluwalia, Michael M Park, Benjamin K Young, Lucian V Del Priore
Published: 6 September 2021
 by  BMJ

Abstract: Background The associations of geographic atrophy (GA) progression with systemic health status and medication use are unclear. Methods We manually delineated GA in 318 eyes in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. We calculated GA perimeter-adjusted growth rate as the ratio between GA area growth rate and mean GA perimeter between the first and last visit for each eye (mean follow-up=5.3 years). Patients’ history of systemic health and medications was collected through questionnaires administered at study enrolment. We evaluated the associations between GA perimeter-adjusted growth rate and 27 systemic health factors using univariable and multivariable linear mixed-effects regression models. Results In the univariable model, GA perimeter-adjusted growth rate was associated with GA in the fellow eye at any visit (p=0.002), hypertension history (p=0.03), cholesterol-lowering medication use (p<0.001), beta-blocker use (p=0.02), diuretic use (p<0.001) and thyroid hormone use (p=0.03). Among the six factors, GA in the fellow eye at any visit (p=0.008), cholesterol-lowering medication use (p=0.002), and diuretic use (p<0.001) were independently associated with higher GA perimeter-adjusted growth rate in the multivariable model. GA perimeter-adjusted growth rate was 51.1% higher in patients with versus without cholesterol-lowering medication use history and was 37.8% higher in patients with versus without diuretic use history. Conclusions GA growth rate may be associated with the fellow eye status, cholesterol-lowering medication use, and diuretic use. These possible associations do not infer causal relationships, and future prospective studies are required to investigate the relationships further.
Keywords: retina / treatment medical / macula / degeneration / imaging

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