Background: Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is one of the main reasons for childhood blindness. The number of infants requiring treatment, however, is low for individual centers. The Retina.net ROP registry has been founded to allow a joint analysis of treatment patterns and courses post treatment.
Objective: This paper reports treatment patterns over 5 years.
Material and methods: All infants born between January 2011 and December 2015 who were entered into the treatment registry by one of the 12 participating centers were analyzed.
Results: The data of 150 infants (292 eyes) were analyzed and ROP 3+ in zone II was the most prevalent treatment indication. Gestational age and birth weight remained stable over the years. The treatment patterns, however, changed with anti-VEGF treatment (bevacizumab or ranibizumab) accounting for only 10% of treated eyes in 2011 but for 56% and 30% in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Almost all eyes with AP-ROP or zone I disease received anti-VEGF treatment. Zone II disease was predominantly treated with laser photocoagulation. Recurrences were more common and appeared later in the anti-VEGF group compared to the laser group (23%/interval 60 days vs. 17%/interval 23 days). Perioperative complications were evenly distributed across treatment groups.
Conclusion: The data in this analysis represent about 10-15% of treated infants in Germany. The results provide evidence for an increasing use of anti-VEGF agents for ROP. The data reflect a selection bias for anti-VEGF treatment in eyes with a more aggressive disease. This needs to be considered when interpreting data such as disease recurrence rates. The risk for late recurrences after anti-VEGF treatment is of particular clinical significance.
Keywords: Anti-VEGF; Laser coagulation; Retina.net; Retinopathy; preterm birth.