Dopamine use is an indicator for the development of threshold retinopathy of prematurity

Michael B. Mizoguchi, Thomas G. Chu, Frederick M. Murphy, Neu Willits, Lawrence S Morse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Aim - To assess whether treatment of premature infants with dopamine is a risk factor for development of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Methods - A retrospective case series analysis of two groups was utilised with a minimum follow up of 6 months. Clinical profiles and patient risk factors were identified along with an evaluation of ROP progression and an analysis of clinical outcome. All infants were seen in a single community neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). 41 consecutive high risk infants were identified during a 36 month period whose birth weight was less than 1000 grams and who remained in the NICU without transfer until at least 28 days of age. Dilated indirect ophthalmoscopy fundus examinations were performed on all infants to identify the degree of and progression to threshold ROP. Results - 18 of 41 infants were treated with dopamine for hypotension. The group of infants requiring dopamine differed statistically from the non-dopamine treated group by having a slightly higher birth weight, a greater incidence of hypotension and colloid treatment, and in manifesting more advanced respiratory disease. Within the dopamine treated group, 12 of 18 infants (67%) reached prethreshold ROP and seven infants (39%) reached threshold ROP requiring laser treatment. In contrast, only three of the infants (13%) who did not require dopamine for hypotension progressed to prethreshold (p = 0.001) and only one of these infants (4%) progressed to threshold ROP (p = 0.02). Logistic regression analysis among other variables demonstrated that dopamine use and gestational age are important factors in this low birthweight population for predicting the development of threshold ROP (dopamine use: adjusted odds ratio = 119.88, p = 0.0061; gestational age: adjusted odds ratio = 0.061, p = 0.0043). Conclusions - Dopamine use in low birthweight infants may therefore be a risk factor for the development of threshold ROP. More vigilant screening of high risk infants requiring dopamine therapy for systemic hypotension may be warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-428
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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