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Incidence of retinopathy of prematurity in Germany: evaluation of current screening criteria


Objective To evaluate current screening criteria for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) by investigating the incidence of ROP requiring treatment in infants with gestational age (GA) ≥30 weeks or postmenstrual age (PMA) <32 weeks in Germany.

Methods Three patient databases were analysed, that is, the German Quality Assurance Procedure in Neonatology (years 2011–2017; n=52 461 infants screened for ROP, 1505 infants treated for ROP), the German ROP Registry (years 2011–2018; n=281 treated infants) and the ROP screening programme of two German university hospitals (years 2012–2016; n=837 screened infants).

Results In the analysed cohorts, infants with GA ≥30 weeks represented 33.1%–38.5% of the screening populations but only 1.40%–1.42% of the cases requiring ROP treatment. In a cohort of 281 infants treated for ROP, all 4 infants with GA ≥30 weeks had additional risk factors for ROP including prolonged oxygen supplementation and/or significant comorbidities. Five infants (1.8%) were treated at 32 weeks PMA and none at PMA <32 weeks.

Conclusions In the investigated cohorts, preterm infants with GA ≥30 weeks carried a very low or no risk for developing treatment-requiring ROP unless additional risk factors were present, and no treatment was performed earlier than 32 weeks PMA. These findings are of relevance for the ongoing re-evaluation of ROP screening criteria.

  • ophthalmology
  • neonatology
  • epidemiology

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