Evaluation of Nationwide Trends in Retinopathy of Prematurity Care

A study evaluated national trends in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), with respect to incidence rates, treatment patterns, cost of management, and risk factors. The results were presented at the American Society of Retina Specialists 2021 Annual Meeting.


“ROP is a relatively rare condition with long term visual consequences. Understanding nationwide incidence rates, trends in management and cost, demographic breakdown and risk factors using a large database can help assess temporal and regional shifts in ophthalmic care,” the researchers wrote.

In this cross-sectional study, Adriene W. Scott analyzed data from 2001 to 2017 using the National Inpatient Sample database. Premature neonates, defined as neonates with hospital stays greater than 14 days, were discerned and stratified in this analysis into those who developed ROP and those who did not. Logistic regression was used to identify risk factors for ROP. In total, this study identified 1,955,297 live births with hospital stays greater than 14 days.

The results showed that 1,798,901 premature neonates did not develop ROP and 156,396 developed ROP. The researcher observed that incidence rates increased from 6.19% in 2001 to 10.32% in 2017. Black premature neonates had the highest increase in incidence. Laser photocoagulation was the most common surgical intervention throughout the duration of the study. The cost increased 76.2% over the 17-year study period after adjusting for inflation. The study found that gestational age, lower birth weight, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, and patent ductus arteriosus were the systemic risk factors most correlated with development of ROP.

“Further study is required to explain the etiology of these increasing costs and to address racial health disparities in ROP,” the researcher concluded.

Source: Scott A. Evaluation of Nationwide Trends in Retinopathy of Prematurity Care. Published for ASRS 2021; October 8-12, 2021, San Antonio, TX.