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

Abstract

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 Retina.net 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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