Objective: To investigate whether postnatal growth and development influence retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and may be included in screening for ROP.
Design: We developed an algorithm to predict for individual infants the risk of later ROP development requiring treatment based on the postnatal longitudinal systemic factors of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) level, IGF binding protein 3 level, and postnatal weight gain. We developed the algorithm based on 79 preterm infants considered at risk for ROP by standard criteria (gestational age, 23.6-31.7 weeks) in a longitudinal study measuring weight gain and serum IGF-I and IGF binding protein 3 levels weekly from birth until discharge from the hospital. We monitored deviations from reference models for weight and IGF-I level (preterm children who developed no or minimal ROP) to detect indications for treatable ROP by Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity study criteria.
Results: This monitoring method detected 6 (100%) of 6 infants in this cohort who required treatment for ROP with a warning signal at least 5 weeks before requiring treatment and at least 3 weeks before the onset of stage 3 ROP. The majority of infants (61/73 infants) requiring no treatment were also correctly identified.
Conclusions: Monitoring the postnatal factors of weight, IGF-I level, and IGF binding protein 3 level substantially enhances the clinician's ability to identify patients who will require treatment for ROP.