Objective: To investigate the safety and efficacy of low-dose intravitreal tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and an expansile gas bubble in displacing submacular hemorrhage in patients with age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).
Patients and methods: We reviewed retrospectively the medical records of 14 consecutive patients with ARMD from 1 academic center who received low-dose intravitreal tPA (18-50 microg) and expansile gas (0.3-0.4 mL of perfluoropropane) for thrombolysis and displacement of submacular hemorrhage. After the procedure, patients maintained face-down positioning for 1 to 3 days.
Main outcome measures: Displacement of blood from the fovea, early and final visual acuity, and toxicity of tPA.
Results: Submacular blood was completely displaced from the fovea in 10 (71%) of the 14 patients and partially displaced in 3 (21%). In 1 patient, no displacement occurred. Early (<2 months) postoperative visual acuity improved by 2 or more lines in 8 patients (57%). With a mean follow-up of 7.7 months, 2 (15%) of 13 patients maintained 2 or more lines of improvement and 69% (9 patients) maintained preoperative visual acuity. No clinical evidence of retinal toxicity was seen at this low-dose of tPA.
Conclusions: Doses of intravitreal tPA ranging from 18 to 50 microg and an expansile gas bubble are safe and effective in displacing submacular hemorrhage in patients with ARMD. Final visual acuity was limited by the underlying presence of end-stage ARMD.