A study on role of thrombocytopenia in retinopathy of prematurity

Aswathy Benedict, Mario Joseph Bukelo


Background: Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is one of the causes of avoidable blindness in India. Globally ROP is estimated to affect more than 50,000 infants annually and in India, every year, 500 children are estimated to become blind from ROP. Many a times, lack of trained professionals and lack of timely referral are found to be setbacks in ROP diagnosis and treatment in developing nations. The aim of the study was to study if thrombocytopenia is a risk factor for retinopathy of prematurity and does supplemental oxygen with thrombocytopenia increases the risk of ROP.

Methods: It was a retrospective case control study done in a tertiary care hospital. Data was collected from 177 preterm admitted to NICU over a period of 3 years from March 2015-2018.

Results: A total of 177 preterm admitted to the NICU was included in this study. 77 had ROP and were taken as cases, while 100 were controls. Out of the cases, 55.6% had thrombocytopenia (OR-2.47, p value: 0.003). 89% (n =69) of cases had significant oxygen exposure (OR-8.65, p value 0.0001; 95% CI: 2.00-10.75). Oxygen exposure and thrombocytopenia coexisted in 57% of cases, with 4 times increased risk of ROP (OR-4.51, p value: 0.0001).

Conclusions: Thrombocytopenia is a significant risk factor for retinopathy of prematurity in preterm. The presence of thrombocytopenia with significant oxygen exposure tends to accentuate the risk further. Future prospective studies with long term follow up are warranted to establish other risk factors.


Oxygen exposure, Retinopathy of prematurity, Risk factors, Thrombocytopenia, Vascular endothelial growth factor

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