Retinopathy Screening of Premature Neonates Born at Gestational Age 32-36 Weeks

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology, Clinical Research Development Center, Mahdiyeh Educational Hospital, Shahid-Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Farabi Eye Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background: Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) may cause decreased visual acuity and even blindness. This study aimed to extend ROP screening to late-premature neonates.
Methods: The study evaluated the results of ROP screening in premature neonates with gestational age (GA) of 32-36 weeks and six days in Tehran, Iran, using the medical records of neonates admitted to NICU from 2007 to 2018. These neonates had respiratory distress and received supplemental oxygen. They underwent a complete retinal examination on the 28th day of birth. The neonates with complications such as syndromic disorders, congenital heart disease, metabolic disorders, or surgical needs were excluded from the study.
Results: The study included 415 premature neonates (equal ratio of each gender) with a mean GA of 33.4 weeks and a mean birth weight (BW) of 1886 grams, of whom 76 (18%) had ROP and 11 (2.7%) needed ROP treatment. Neonates with ROP had lower GA and BW compared to neonates without ROP (32.7 versus 33.5 weeks, P=0.000039, and 1698 versus 1929 grams, P=0.05, respectively).
Detailed patient records available for 163 neonates showed that compared to neonates without ROP, the ROP group had increased mean time for oxygen therapy (118±115 versus 44±49 hours, P<0.001) and hospitalization duration (24±20 versus 10±8 days, P<0.001).
Conclusion: Neonates with GA of up to 35 weeks who had an unstable clinical course or any high-risk factor for developing ROP may need to be screened for the presence of ROP to prevent adverse outcomes. The obtained results showed that lower GA, lower BW, increased oxygen-therapy duration, and longer hospitalization duration are risk factors for developing ROP.


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