Primary trabeculectomy for advanced glaucoma: pragmatic multicentre randomised controlled trial (TAGS)

Anthony King, Jemma Hudson, Gordon Fernie, Ashleigh Kernohan, Augusto Azuara-Blanco, Jennifer Burr, Tara Homer, Hosein Shabaninejad, John M Sparrow, David Garway-Heath, Keith Barton, John Norrie, Alison McDonald, Luke Vale, Graeme MacLennan, TAGS Study Group

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Objective To determine whether primary trabeculectomy or primary medical treatment produces better outcomes in term of quality of life, clinical effectiveness, and safety in patients presenting with advanced glaucoma. Design Pragmatic multicentre randomised controlled trial. Setting 27 secondary care glaucoma departments in the UK. Participants 453 adults presenting with newly diagnosed advanced open angle glaucoma in at least one eye (Hodapp classification) between 3 June 2014 and 31 May 2017. Interventions Mitomycin C augmented trabeculectomy (n=227) and escalating medical management with intraocular pressure reducing drops (n=226) Main outcome measures Primary outcome: vision specific quality of life measured with Visual Function Questionnaire-25 (VFQ-25) at 24 months. Secondary outcomes: general health status, glaucoma related quality of life, clinical effectiveness (intraocular pressure, visual field, visual acuity), and safety. Results At 24 months, the mean VFQ-25 scores in the trabeculectomy and medical arms were 85.4 (SD 13.8) and 84.5 (16.3), respectively (mean difference 1.06, 95% confidence interval −1.32 to 3.43; P=0.38). Mean intraocular pressure was 12.4 (SD 4.7) mm Hg for trabeculectomy and 15.1 (4.8) mm Hg for medical management (mean difference −2.8 (−3.8 to −1.7) mm Hg; P<0.001). Adverse events occurred in 88 (39%) patients in the trabeculectomy arm and 100 (44%) in the medical management arm (relative risk 0.88, 95% confidence interval 0.66 to 1.17; P=0.37). Serious side effects were rare. Conclusion Primary trabeculectomy had similar quality of life and safety outcomes and achieved a lower intraocular pressure compared with primary medication. Trial registration Health Technology Assessment (NIHR-HTA) Programme (project number: 12/35/38). ISRCTN registry: ISRCTN56878850.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbern1014
Number of pages11
Early online date12 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding: The project was funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme (project number 12/35/38). The Health Services Research Unit is funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates. The funders had no role in considering the study design or in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data; writing the report; or the decision to submit the article for publication. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Sponsor representative: Pauline Hyman-Taylor (from February 2019), Natalie McGregor (March 2015 to February 2019), Audrey Athlan (from July 2014 to March 2015), Joanne Thornhill (from 2013 to July 2014). Patient and public involvement representative: Rick Walsh, Russel Young. CHaRT Trial Office: Mark Forrest (from 2015), Gladys McPherson (until 2015). CHaRT Trial Office data coordinator: Pauline Garden. Health economists: Eoin Maloney (until 2015), Mehdi Javanbakht (until June 2019).All participants in the trial, staff, and members of the TAGS Investigator Group responsible for recruitment in the clinical centres.


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