Introducing Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Therapies for AMD Did Not Raise Risk of Myocardial Infarction, Stroke, and Death.

Journal Article (Multicenter Study;Journal Article)


To assess the effect of availability of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy on mortality and hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and stroke over a 5-year follow-up period in United States Medicare beneficiaries newly diagnosed with exudative age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in 2006 compared with control groups consisting of beneficiaries (1) newly diagnosed with exudative AMD at a time when anti-VEGF therapy was not possible and (2) newly diagnosed with nonexudative AMD.


Retrospective cohort study.


Beneficiaries newly diagnosed with exudative and nonexudative AMD in 2000 and 2006 selected from a random longitudinal sample of Medicare 5% claims and enrollment files.


Beneficiaries with a first diagnosis of exudative AMD in 2006 were the treatment group; beneficiaries newly diagnosed with exudative AMD in 2000 or nonexudative AMD in 2000 or 2006 were control groups. To deal with potential selection bias, we designed an intent-to-treat study, which controlled for nonadherence to prescribed regimens. The treatment group consisted of patients with clinically appropriate characteristics to receive anti-VEGF injections given that the therapy is available, bypassing the need to monitor whether treatment was actually received. Control groups consisted of patients with clinically appropriate characteristics but first diagnosed at a time when the therapy was unavailable (2000) and similar patients but for whom the therapy was not clinically indicated (2000, 2006). We used a Cox proportional hazard model.

Main outcome measures

All-cause mortality and hospitalization for AMI and stroke during follow-up.


No statistically significant changes in probabilities of death and hospitalizations for AMI and stroke within a 5-year follow-up period were identified in exudative AMD beneficiaries newly diagnosed in 2006, the beginning of widespread anti-VEGF use, compared with 2000. As an alternative to our main analysis, which excluded beneficiaries from nonexudative AMD group who received anti-VEGF therapies during follow-up, we performed a sensitivity analysis with this group of individuals reincluded (11% of beneficiaries newly diagnosed with nonexudative AMD in 2006). Results were similar.


Introduction of anti-VEGF agents in 2006 for treating exudative AMD has not posed a threat of increased risk of AMI, stroke, or all-cause mortality.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Yashkin, AP; Hahn, P; Sloan, FA

Published Date

  • October 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 123 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 2225 - 2231

PubMed ID

  • 27523614

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5035597

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1549-4713

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0161-6420

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ophtha.2016.06.053


  • eng