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BMC Pediatr. 2013 May 16;13:78. doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-13-78.

Hyperglycemia as a risk factor for the development of retinopathy of prematurity.



Hyperglycemia has recently been described as a risk factor for the development of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a proliferative vascular disease of the retina that primarily affects premature infants. This study was to evaluate the relationship of hyperglycemia and the development of ROP in premature infants less than 32 weeks gestation.


This was a retrospective cohort study of all infants less than 32 weeks gestation from 2003-2007 who survived to discharge in our NICU. Demographic data including birthweight, gestational age, Apgar scores, method of delivery, antenatal steroid use, neonatal steroid use, and size for gestational age was collected for each infant. Episodes of sepsis, grade of intraventricular hemorrhage, presence of a patent ductus arteriosus, number of days on the ventilator, and stage of necrotizing enterocolitis were assessed as well as days of hyperglycemia, defined as number of days with whole blood glucose > 150 mg/dl. In addition, the highest stage of ROP was recorded for each infant. A Student's two tailed t-test or Fisher's exact test was performed to identify significant clinical risk factors associated with the development of ROP. From this univariate analysis, a multiple logistic regression was performed to determine the effect of hyperglycemia on the development of ROP, adjusting for significant clinical risk factors. Statistical analysis was performed using SAS v.9.2.


Univariate analysis demonstrated that infants with ROP were of lower birthweight and gestational age, and were affected by a patent ductus arteriosus, neonatal sepsis, intraventricular hemorrhage, have significant lung disease and received postnatal glucocorticoid therapy. Infants with ROP experienced more days with hyperglycemia (7 vs. 2, p = < 0.0001). Using multiple logistic regression analysis to compare no ROP vs. all stages of ROP, gestational age (OR 0.745, 95% CI [0.634, 0.877], p = 0.0004), mean days of hyperglycemia (OR 1.073, 95% CI [1.004, 1.146], p = 0.04), and mean days receiving mechanical ventilation (OR 1.012, 95% CI [1.000, 1.025], p = 0.05) remained significantly associated with ROP after adjusting for other risk factors.


Our data suggests that hyperglycemia is associated with the development of ROP in premature infants.

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