Anemia in relation to severity of retinopathy of prematurity in preterm babies born in tertiary care centre in South India

Hrishikesh S. Pai, Rojo Joy, Varghese Cherian, Preethy Peter


Background: Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a vaso proliferative disorder of retina among preterm infants. Significant cause of blindness in children with increased survival of premature infants with improved neonatal care. Potential risk factors for development of ROP include low gestational age, low birth weight, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, sepsis, acidosis, oxygen therapy. Anemia as a cause for retinopathy of prematurity has been postulated but there are very few studies addressed the effect of anemia on incidence and severity of ROP. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of anemia on incidence and severity of retinopathy of prematurity and to determine other factors associated with development of retinopathy of prematurity.

Methods: Retrospective descriptive study of 120 babies born premature less than 34 weeks for the development of Retinopathy of prematurity and its severity and for associated conditions. All babies screened for retinopathy of prematurity at 3 weeks of age and further followed up for progression of ROP. Factors analysed included hemoglobin levels at 3 weeks of life, number of blood transfusions, days on ventilator, gestational age, birth weight, duration of oxygen requirement, bronchopulmonary dysplasia for the development of retinopathy of prematurity. Findings described in simple descriptive manner.

Results: Anemia and increased requirement for blood transfusion are associated with higher incidence and severity of ROP. Low gestational age, birth weight, prolonged oxygen requirement, intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), sepsis are other risk factors.

Conclusions: It is significant to screen preterm babies for ROP and to anticipate in the background of these risk factors. Minimise oxygen duration and blood loss for sampling to prevent anemia and reduce transfusions.


Anemia, Blood transfusion, Prematurity, Retinopathy

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