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Ciba Found Symp. 1983;101:147-64.

Vitamin E and retrolental fibroplasia: prevention of serious ocular sequelae.


In an attempt to determine the role of vitamin E in retrolental fibroplasia (RLF) we report our experience with 191 infants of less than 1500 g birth weight. Of these infants, 16.75% had evidence of acute RLF in hospital, 8.4% had cicatricial RLF at follow-up, and four infants (2.1%) were blind, none of whom had received supplementary vitamin E. The incidence of cicatricial RLF at follow-up was significantly lower in infants who received vitamin E early after birth (12 h) than in those who did not (3 of 105 versus 13 of 86, X2 = 9.26, P = 0.002), as was the incidence of Grade III or greater cicatrix (0 of 105 versus 7 of 86, X2 with Yates = 6.72, P = 0.01). Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis revealed three factors distinguishing infants who developed cicatricial RLF from those who did not: the lack of early vitamin E supplements (P = 0.0023), the significantly larger number of arterial PO2 values over 100 mmHg (P = 0.0056), and the presence of an intraventricular haemorrhage (P = 0.0032). The incidence and severity of necrotizing enterocolitis was similar in infants who received vitamin E and in those who did not. It is recommended that vitamin E be given within the first 12 hours of birth to all infants of less than 1500 g who require supplementary oxygen.

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