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An evidence-based approach to diagnosing patients presenting with orbital inflammatory syndromes (An American Ophthalmological Society Thesis).

PURPOSE: The initial management of patients presenting with orbital inflammatory syndromes (OIS) varies - with some pursuing a diagnostic workup while others treat without any testing. The evidence behind this rationale is limited. A review of patients with orbital inflammation is performed with analysis of diagnostic testing to develop a workflow for such patients.

DESIGN: A retrospective review of patients presenting with acute orbital inflammation at a single institution from 2011 - 2020 was conducted.

METHODS: Orbital imaging was required for inclusion. Patients with high suspicion of neoplasm, bacterial infection, vascular malformation, or thyroid eye disease were excluded. Review of presenting clinical findings, laboratory workup, orbital imaging, and biopsy were performed. Statistical analysis was performed identifying statistically significant diagnostic and treatment maneuvers.

RESULTS: In total, 172 patients met inclusion criteria (66% female, mean age 46 years). The primary clinical presentation was myositis, dacryoadenitis, and infiltrative in 67, 73, and 32 patients (39.0, 43.0, 18.6%, respectively). Laboratory studies were conducted in 145 (84%) while biopsy was performed in 55 (32%). Specific orbital inflammation (SOI) was diagnosed in 29 (16.9%) with most frequent diagnoses being sarcoidosis, IgG4-related disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and systemic lupus erythematosus. The majority (147, 85.5%) was initially treated with steroids, but steroid-sparing agent use was statistically higher in patients with SOI.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients presenting with OIS, distinguishing myositis, dacryoadenitis, and infiltrative disease has workup and differential diagnosis impacts. Because SOI is relatively common, sequelae of SOI, and potential steroid-sparing therapy needs, diagnosis via an evidence-based systemic approach is critical.

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