Rate of ROP doubles in Denmark

February 13, 2008

A Danish study published in the January issue of Pediatrics has found that the incidence of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) treatment in Denmark has more than doubled during the past five years.

A Danish study published in the January issue of Pediatrics has found that the incidence of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) treatment in Denmark has more than doubled during the past five years.

Carina Slidsborg and colleagues from Copenhagen University Hospital and the National Board of Health, Copenhagen, Denmark examined the patient charts of infants treated for ROP and the national birth registry to gather information about neonatal parameters. These parameters, along with birth in the latter half of the period (2001?2005), were analysed as risk factors for ROP. The national registry for blind and visually impaired children was accessed to obtain information about visual impairment attributable to ROP in both treated and untreated infants.

The study included 5,467 Danish preterm infants, 2,616 born between 1996 and 2000 and 2,851 born between 2001 and 2005. The incidence of treated ROP cases increased significantly from 1.3% during the 1996-2000 period to 3.5% during the 2001-2005 period. Significant risk factors for ROP treatment included low gestational age, small for gestational age, male gender and multiple birth. Of the study population, 0.6% were registered as visually impaired due to ROP within two years after birth. Of all the early-detected, visually impaired children, 16% had not been treated for ROP and were considered screening failures.

The incidence of ROP has more than doubled over the past five years in Denmark and, according to the authors, this increase cannot be fully explained by increased survival rates or by changes in the investigational neonatal risk factors.