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Birth weight is the most important predictor of abnormal retinal vascularisation in moderately preterm infants.

Journal article
Authors Kerstin Allvin
Ann Hellström
Jovanna Dahlgren
Marita Andersson Grönlund
Published in Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992)
Volume 103
Issue 6
Pages 594–600
ISSN 1651-2227
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Pediatrics
Pages 594–600
Language en
Keywords Birth size;Insulin-like growth factor-I;Pre-eclampsia;Retinal vascularisation;Small for gestational age
Subject categories Pediatrics


Aim To find predictors of abnormal retinal vascularisation in moderately to late preterm newborn infants considered to have no risk of developing retinopathy of prematurity. Methods Seventy-eight infants (34 girls) were recruited from a longitudinal study of otherwise healthy premature children born at a gestational age of 32+0-36+6weeks. Retinal vessel morphology was evaluated at mean postnatal age 7days. Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) levels were analysed in umbilical cord blood. Results Of the 78 infants, 21 (27%) had abnormal retinal vessel morphology; they had significantly lower median (range) birth weight [1850g, (1190-3260), vs. 2320, (1330-3580), p<0.0001], shorter birth length [43.0cm, (38-49), vs. 46.0, (40-50), p<0.0001] and smaller head circumference [31.0cm, (27.7-34.0), vs. 32.0, (27.5-36.5), p=0.003]. They also had significantly lower gestational age [34+1weeks, (32+2-35+3), vs. 34+6, (32+2-36+6), p=0.004] and meanSD IGF-I levels (24.6 +/- 17.0g/L vs. 46.7 +/- 21.5, p<0.0001). A higher percentage of these infants were small for gestational age (57.1% vs. 15.8%, p=0.001), and maternal hypertension/preeclampsia rates were also higher (47.6% vs. 19.3%, p=0.03). Step-wise logistic regression showed that birth weight was the strongest predictor of abnormal retinal vascularisation (p<0.0001, odds ratio 0.040, 95% confidence interval 0.007-0.216). Conclusion In this population of moderately to late preterm newborns, birth weight appeared to affect the retinal vascular system.

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