Purpose: To determine the prevalence of retinal hemorrhages and their association with cerebral intraventricular hemorrhages (IVH) in low-birth-weight preterm neonates born at or before 32 weeks' gestation. Methods: We prospectively studied a consecutive series of 22 neonates (24-30 weeks' gestation; mean gestational age, 27 weeks; mean weight, 1065 g) admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit. Anterior segment and indirect ophthalmoscopic examination, as well as cranial ultrasonographic examination, were performed on day 1 and day 10 of life. The prevalence of retinal and intraventricular hemorrhage was tested statistically for association with obstetric and neonatal clinical variables. Results: The prevalence of retinal hemorrhage was 9% (2/22; 95% Cl, 3%-21%) on day 1 and 2% (1/22) on day 10. The prevalence of IVH was 27% (6/22; 95% Cl, 9%-46%): 14% (3/22) on day 1 and 23% (5/22) on day 10. Retinal hemorrhages occurred with greater frequency in neonates born to women who had intrauterine infection (chorioamnionitis, P = .043) and low umbilical cord pH levels (P = .027). No association was found between the presence of retinal hemorrhage and IVH (P = 1.000), mode of delivery (ie, vaginal vs cesarean section, P = 1.000), birth weight (P = .476), or gestational age (P = 1.000). The presence of subconjunctival hemorrhage was associated with IVH (P = .046). Conclusions: Retinal hemorrhages occur in less than 10% of low-birth-weight neonates, ie, a prevalence one half that observed in term neonates (22%). The hemorrhages tend to resolve without sequelae in the first 10 days of life and occur more commonly in infants born to women with uterine infection. Retinal hemorrhages in very premature neonates are not predictive of IVH-related brain damage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health