Parenteral Nutrition Predicts Retinopathy of Prematurity

How long infants use parenteral nutrition helps predict whether they will develop retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), according to research published online June 29 in JAMA Ophthalmology.


  • Retrospective study of more than 11,000 infants born prematurely between 2007 and 2020 in Sweden (average gestational age, 28.5 weeks).


  • 29% of the infants developed ROP, and 5% received treatment for the condition.

  • The 21% of infants who received parenteral nutrition for at least 14 days were significantly more likely to develop ROP (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.84; 95% CI, 1.62 – 2.10;  <  .001) and to receive treatment for ROP (aOR, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.73 – 2.80;  <  .001).


Clinicians might consider using an updated clinical decision support tool – Digital ROP (DIGIROP) 2.0 – that considers the duration of parenteral nutrition, according to the researchers.

Further studies that examine how neonatal nutrition affects intestinal and neurovascular development are needed, they say. Prior research has shown that “although life-saving for many infants, longer exposure to and higher volume of parenteral nutrition increase the risk of infections and reduce nutrient absorption in the premature baby,” the study authors note.


Aldina Pivodic, MSc, with the Sahlgrenska Center for Pediatric Ophthalmology Research at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, is the corresponding author of the study. The research was supported by the Swedish Medical Research Council, the Gothenburg Medical Society, and government grants.


The updated prediction models need to be studied in other populations and settings.


The authors have reported no relevant financial relationships.

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