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Severe retinopathy of prematurity in infants <30 weeks’ gestation in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory from 1992 to 2002


Background: Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) significantly increased in New South Wales (NSW) from 1986 to 1994, but more recent data suggest that there has now been a decrease.

Objective: To study the incidence and treatment of severe ROP (stage ⩾3) in NSW and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) from 1992 to 2002.

Methods: Data collected prospectively from the Neonatal Intensive Care Units’ (NICUS) Data Collection over an 11-year period in infants <30 weeks’ gestation were divided into four epochs and analysed retrospectively. The incidence and treatment of severe ROP were compared for gestational ages ⩽24 weeks’, 25–26 weeks’ and 27–29 weeks’ gestation over the four epochs.

Results: In infants ⩽24 weeks’ gestation the incidence of severe ROP and those treated increased significantly (stage ⩾3: from 17 (41.5%) to 41 (53.9%), p = 0.052; treated: from 8 (19.5%) to 25 (32.9%), p<0.05 (first and fourth epoch)). In infants 25–26weeks’ gestation the incidence of severe ROP decreased significantly whereas there was a non-significant increase in those treated (stage ⩾3: from 55 (26.2%) to 46 (19.3%), p<0.05; treated: from 19 (9.0%) to 32 (13.4%)). In infants 27–29 weeks’ gestation, there was no significant change in the incidence of severe ROP or those treated (stage ⩾3: from 30 (4.1%) to 17 (2.4%); treated: from 14 (1.9%) to 8 (1.1%)).

Conclusion: In infants ⩽24 weeks’ gestation there has been a significant increase in severe ROP, and in infants <27 weeks’ gestation the numbers treated for severe ROP increased.

  • ACT, Australian Capital Territory
  • NSW, New South Wales
  • ROP, retinopathy of prematurity
  • retinopathy of prematurity
  • preterm infants
  • cryo-therapy and laser therapy

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