Background Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) remains a major cause of juvenile blindness. As screening recommendations are refined, decreasing gestational age (GA) and birth weight (BW) constitute an increasing risk for ROP. This retrospective case series reviews the screening results of a very immature cohort in Germany.
Methods We conducted ROP screening according to the German guidelines of 1999: all preterm infants with a GA of <32 weeks and/or a BW of <1501 g, or with GA ≥32 weeks and postnatal oxygen treatment for >3 days, were assigned for screening. Dense laser coagulation was performed according to the current treatment criteria.
Results All 767 consecutive inborn (patients born at the Department of Neonatology, University Hospital of Cologne, Germany) preterm infants of a tertiary medical centre of maximum care underwent complete screening from 2001 to 2009. The treatment incidence was 7.0%. No preterm infant developed stage 4/5 ROP. Mean GA and BW of untreated/treated preterm infants were 28.4/24.6 weeks and 1109/635 g, respectively. Increasing treatment incidence was associated with lower GA, but not with lower BW in logistic regression analysis.
Conclusion In this very immature high-risk cohort, advanced stages 4 and 5 were avoided throughout 9 years of screening. We suggest three factors that contributed to this outcome: (1) strict adherence to current ROP screening and treatment guidelines; (2) prompt and very dense laser coagulation if necessary; and (3) a specialised neonatal intensive care unit with experience of very immature babies.
- Retinopathy of prematurity
- plus disease
- laser treatment
- gestational age
- birth weight
- diagnostic tests/investigation
- treatment lasers
- child health (paediatrics)
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Funding Supported by the Koeln Fortune Program/Faculty of Medicine, University of Cologne.
Competing interests None to declare.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.