Background Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is the main cause of visual impairment in very preterm infants (VPI). Several factors contribute to the development of ROP; recently, the relationship between severe grades of ROP and poor early weight gain and nutrition has been investigated. Aim: Evaluation of nutritional supply during the first week of life and in-hospital postnatal growth of very preterm children with and without ROP.
Methods Retrospective study of clinical data from a cohort of VPI (≤32 GA) screened for ROP from 2002–2013 in a tertiary NICU. Collection of information regarding birth weight, postnatal growth, nutritional data and clinical course. ROP was classified according to international guidelines.
Results Of 473 VPI screened, 165 (34,9%) patients developed some degree of ROP; 30 needed treatment with laser therapy. Babies with any degree of ROP and those with severe ROP were of lower gestational age and had a more complicated clinical course. Regarding growth, there were no differences in initial weight loss and recovery or enteral nutrition during the first week. In spite of higher parenteral nutritional supply (1st week), babies who developed ROP had a lower relative daily weight gain between birth and 28 days of life (dol) and deviated from expected intrauterine growth significantly more. This pattern persisted at 36 weeks and at discharge.
Conclusions VPI who develop ROP display stunted growth when compared to non-ROP counterparts. This is in spite of a higher parenteral nutritional supply during the first week of life. Further analysis of nutritional data is under course.