Supervoltage orbital radiotherapy for progressive Graves' ophthalmopathy: Results of a twenty-year experience

J. P. Kriss, Ivy A Petersen, S. S. Donaldson, I. R. McDougall

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24 Scopus citations


Since 1968 we have employed supervoltage orbital radiation as treatment for severe progressive Graves' ophthalmopathy. A numerical ophthalmic index was used to assess pre- and post-treatment severity. In the past 20 years we have treated 311 patients of whom 275 have been followed for ≥1 year or until any eye surgery was performed. An orbital radiation dosage of 2000 rads in 2 weeks was used for the majority of patients (Series I and III). Series II patients received an orbital dose of 3000 rads in 3 weeks. Demographic differences were observed between these series, thus mandating presentation of the results of each separately. Analyses excluded any result achieved by any post-radiation surgical procedure on the eyes. Post-therapy worsening of ophthalmopathy occurred in only 29 of 1025 observations. Improvement or complete resolution was observed within each category of eye involvement, but lack of favorable response was also recorded in significant numbers. Improvement in proptosis occurred with the lowest frequency and magnitude. About 30% of the patients required eye muscle surgery to correct residual diplopia. Analysis of the data by step-wise linear regression analysis enabled us a. to derive formulae predicting the probable response to radiation therapy according to sign and severity, and b. identify parameters which diminished the likelihood or the extent of a favorable response. The latter included male sex, never thyrotoxic, age greater than 60 years, and requirement for concomitant treatment for hyperthyroidism. No long-term adverse reactions attributable to the radiotherapy have been observed. We conclude that supervoltage orbital radiotherapy, combined with later eye muscle surgery if necessary, is an effective treatment strategy for progressive Graves' ophthalmopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-159
Number of pages6
JournalActa Endocrinologica, Supplement
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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