Objective: To evaluate the impact of low birth weight as a risk factor for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) that will require treatment in correlation with gestational age at birth (GA).
Study design: In total, 2941 infants born <32 weeks GA were eligible from five cohorts of preterm infants previously collected for analysis in WINROP (Weight IGF-I Neonatal ROP) from the following locations: Sweden (EXPRESS) (n = 426), North America (n = 1772), Boston (n = 338), Lund (n = 52), and Gothenburg (n = 353). Data regarding GA at birth, birth weight (BW), gender, and need for ROP treatment were retrieved. Birth weight standard deviation scores (BWSDS) were calculated with Swedish as well as Canadian reference models. Small for gestational age (SGA) was defined as BWSDS less than -2.0 SDS using the Swedish reference and as BW below the 10th percentile using the Canadian reference charts.
Results: Univariate analysis showed that low GA (p<0.001), low BW (p<0.001), male gender (p<0.05), low BWSDSCanada (p<0.001), and SGACanada (p<0.01) were risk factors for ROP that will require treatment. In multivariable logistic regression analysis, low GA (p<0.0001), male gender (p<0.01 and p<0.05), and an interaction term of BWSDS*GA group (p<0.001), regardless of reference chart, were risk factors. Low BWSDS was less important as a risk factor in infants born at GA <26 weeks compared with infants born at GA ≥26 weeks calculated with both reference charts (BWSDSSweden, OR = 0.80 vs 0.56; and BWSDSCanada, OR = 0.72 vs 0.41).
Conclusions: Low BWSDS as a risk factor for vision-threatening ROP is dependent on the infant's degree of immaturity. In more mature infants (GA ≥26 weeks), low BWSDS becomes a major risk factor for developing ROP that will require treatment. These results persist even when calculating BW deficit with different well-established approaches.