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Diabetologia. 1987 Apr;30(4):199-207.

Long-term follow-up of patients who underwent yttrium-90 pituitary implantation for treatment of proliferative diabetic retinopathy.


Between 1960 and 1976 117 patients underwent pituitary implantation with yttrium-90 (90Y) for treatment of proliferative retinopathy at the Hammersmith Hospital, London. Mean age at operation was 35 +/- 11 years (mean +/- SD), and mean duration of diabetes 18.6 +/- 10.0 years. Mean insulin dosage prior to implant was 67.2 +/- 24 units, falling to 30.4 +/- 14.9 units post-implant. Thirty-two per cent of patients are still living, 60% are deceased and 8% are lost to follow-up. The 5-year survival rate was 82%. Of the causes of death, 21% died of infection, adrenal insufficiency or hypoglycaemia, 12% of renal failure, and 47% of myocardial or cerebral vascular disease. Ophthalmological follow-up was carried out on the 100 patients operated on between 1965 and 1976. The mean age of this group at implant was 35 +/- 10.5 years, and mean duration of diabetes 17.2 +/- 8.7 years. Visual acuity in the better eye at operation was 6/12 or better in 84% of patients, and this percentage remained similar at the time of the 5 and 10 year follow-up. Blindness (6/60 or worse) in both eyes was present in 12% of patients at the time of 5 and 10 year assessments. By 5 years new vessels on the disc had improved from a mean grading of 2.7 +/- 1.6 to 0.8 +/- 1.2 (p less than 0.001), and by 10 years there was no disc neovascularisation in any eye. There was a similar improvement in the grading of hard exudates, microaneurysms and haemorrhages, but there was an increase in fibrous retinitis proliferans.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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