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Early postnatal hyperglycaemia is a risk factor for treatment-demanding retinopathy of prematurity


Background To investigate whether neonatal hyperglycaemia in the first postnatal week is associated with treatment-demanding retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

Methods This is a Danish national, retrospective, case–control study of premature infants (birth period 2003–2006). Three national registers were searched, and data were linked through a unique civil registration number. The study sample consisted of 106 cases each matched with two comparison infants. Matching criteria were gestational age (GA) at birth, ROP not registered and born at the same neonatal intensive care unit. Potential ‘new’ risk factors were analysed in a multivariate logistic regression model, while adjusted for previously recognised risk factors (ie, GA at birth, small for gestational age, multiple birth and male sex).

Results Hospital records of 310 preterm infants (106 treated; 204 comparison infants) were available. Nutrition in terms of energy (kcal/kg/week) and protein (g/kg/week) given to the preterm infants during the first postnatal week were statistically insignificant between the study groups (Mann-Whitney U test; p=0.165/p=0.163). Early postnatal weight gain between the two study groups was borderline significant (t-test; p=0.047). Hyperglycaemic events (indexed value) were statistically significantly different between the two study groups (Mann-Whitney U test; p<0.001). Hyperglycaemia was a statistically independent risk factor (OR: 1.022; 95% CI 1.002 to 1.042; p=0.031).

Conclusion An independent association was found between the occurrence of hyperglycaemic events during the first postnatal week and later development of treatment-demanding ROP, when adjusted for known risk factors.

  • Preterm birth, Retinopathy of Prematurity
  • Risk factors
  • Hyperglycemia.
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