Systemic fungal infection is associated with the development of retinopathy of prematurity in very low birth weight infants: a meta-review

J Perinatol. 2008 Jan;28(1):61-6. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2007 Nov 29.


Objective: To study the association between systemic fungal infection (SFI) and the development of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and severe ROP in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants by systematic review and meta-analysis.

Study design: A meta-review was performed using a fixed effects model. The exposure and outcomes studied were SFI and all ROP/severe ROP, respectively in VLBW infants. Results and effect sizes analyzed with Review Manager 4.2 software are expressed as relative risk (RR), odds ratio (OR), risk difference (RD) and number needed to harm (NNH) with 95% confidence intervals.

Result: Data for severe ROP were available from eight studies and on all ROP from seven of those eight studies. Estimated gestational age ranged from 24.7+/-1.6 to 28.6+/-4 weeks and birth weight from 673 (median) (range 426 to 995) to 1108+/-266 g (mean+/-s.d.). A total of 261 of 303 babies with SFI had all ROP vs 1081 of 1648 babies without SFI (OR 3.4(*), 2.34-4.95) and 118 of 330 babies with SFI had severe ROP vs 235 of 1951 babies without SFI (OR 4.06(*), 3.05-5.42). The NNH was 5.56(*) (4.54-7.14) for all ROP and 4.54(*) (3.70 to 5.88) for severe ROP ((*) P<0.00001).

Conclusion: SFIs are associated with the development of all degrees of ROP and severe ROP in VLBW infants.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Candidiasis / complications
  • Fungemia / complications*
  • Fungemia / microbiology
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / microbiology*
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / pathology
  • Severity of Illness Index