Link between ROP and haemangioma in low birth-weight infants discovered

March 25, 2009

In infants with birth weights of 1250 g, haemangiomas are associated with the development of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), according to study data published in the March 2009 issue of Pediatrics.

In infants with birth weights of 1250 g, haemangiomas are associated with the development of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), according to study data published in the March 2009 issue of Pediatrics.

Vijayakumar Praveen, MD of the Department of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center, US and colleagues conducted a retrospective study of the premature infants weighing 1250 g born between November 1 2000 and October 31 2005 listed in a prospectively collected neonatal database (n=351). The team collected and analysed data including gestational age, birth weight, gender, pre- and postnatal steroid use, size and number of haemangiomas and highest stage of ROP to identify any associated risk factors.

Forty-nine of the infants (13.9%) had at least one haemangioma at the time of their discharge, of whom 14 (n=28.5%) had multiple haemangiomas and 18 (42.8%) had haemangiomas ≥1 cm. Infants with ROP had a 16.8% prevalence of haemangioma, compared with a prevalence of 6.7% in those without ROP. Initial univariate analysis demonstrated an association between low gestational age, low birth weight, postnatal steroid use and ROP, although there was no such relationship demonstrated between ROP and prenatal steroid use, gender or race. Multivariate analysis showed an independent association between haemangioma and ROP, although the number and size of the haemangioma did not correlate to the severity of ROP.

The researchers concluded that the significance of the association of haemangioma with ROP in low-birth weight infants could in future lead to the discovery of ROP treatment options.