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Retinopathy of prematurity — Risk factors

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Objective: Improved survival of low birth weight, premature babies have increased the incidence of retinopathy of prematurity. This hospital-based, prospective, study was undertaken to determine its incidence and risk factors in our neonatal unit.Methods: Neonates with gestational age ≤ 35 weeks and/or birth weight ≤ 1500 gm born over a one-year period were examined by indirect ophthalmoscopy between 2 to 4 weeks after birth, and followed up till retinal vascularisation was complete. Maternal and neonatal risk factors were noted and data analyzed by statistical package SPSS-10.0.Results: Sixty babies were thus examined. The incidence of retinopathy was 21.7% in the cohort, 33.3% in babies ≤32 weeks gestation and 36.4% in babies weighing ≤1250 gm. Oxygen (p=0.01), sepsis (p=0.04) and apnoea (p=0.02) were independent risk factors. Retinopathy was significantly more severe in babies with hyaline membrane disease (p=0.02) and lower birth weight (p=0.02). Severe disease was never seen before 6.5 weeks of age.Conclusion: Indirect ophthalmoscopy should be performed at 4 weeks of post natal age in all preterm babies with birth weight ≤ 1500 gm, and intensified in the presence of risk factors like oxygen administration, apnoea and septicemia.

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Correspondence to Upreet Dhaliwal.

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Gupta, V.P., Dhaliwal, U., Sharma, R. et al. Retinopathy of prematurity — Risk factors. Indian J Pediatr 71, 887–892 (2004).

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