In addition to its hematopoietic effects, erythropoietin causes an increased release of endothelin-1 and the stimulation of angiogenesis and thereby it may have possible role in development of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Our objective was to determine if an association exists between recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) treatment and the development of ROP. Our case-control study involved 85 very low birthweight infants with birthweights <1500 g born during 2003 and 2004. All the infants were divided into two groups on the basis of whether they got rhEPO or not. The rhEPO was given at the dose of 200 to 250 units/kg/dose three times a week for 10 doses. Further duration of rhEPO therapy was decided on the basis of the clinical response. Ophthalmological examinations were done at the age of 5 to 6 weeks and were repeated 1 to 4 weeks after the first examination according to the severity of the ROP disease during their in-hospital stay. Of 85 infants, 56 (66%) received rhEPO and 29 (34%) did not. In the rhEPO-treated group, 12 infants (21%) had ROP; in the non-rhEPO group, 11 infants (38%) developed ROP. This difference is not statistically significant (odds ratio=2.63; p=0.10). There was no correlation between the use of rhEPO and the stage of ROP (random sample=0.01; p=0.89). There was no significant difference in the incidence of plus, prethreshold, or threshold disease and the treatment required for ROP between the rhEPO-treated and the nontreated group. The study showed there is no significant difference in the incidence and severity of ROP between the rhEPO-treated and nontreated group.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology