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Vitamin A supplementation improves retinal function in infants at risk of retinopathy of prematurity

Mactier, H. and McCulloch, Daphne L. and Hamilton, Ruth and Galloway, Peter and Bradnam, Michael S. and Young, David and Lavy, Timothy and Farrell, Lesley and Weaver, Lawrence .T. (2012) Vitamin A supplementation improves retinal function in infants at risk of retinopathy of prematurity. Journal of Pediatrics, 160 (6). pp. 954-959. ISSN 0022-3476

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Abstract

Preterm infants show reduced retinal sensitivity at term corrected age compared with newborn term infants. We tested the hypothesis that retinal sensitivity in preterm infants is improved by early, high-dose vitamin A. We report a double-blind, randomized controlled trial of infants <32 weeks' gestation and/or <1501 g birth weight. Supplemented infants received additional intramuscular vitamin A 10 000 IU 3 times weekly from day 2 for a minimum of 2 weeks or until establishment of oral feeding. Hepatic stores were assessed by relative dose response (RDR). The primary outcome measure was cone-corrected dark-adapted retinal rod sensitivity measured by electroretinogram at 36 weeks' postmenstrual age (PMA). Eighty-nine infants (42 supplemented and 47 controls) were recruited. Plasma retinol was higher in supplemented infants at 7 and 28 days (median, 1.0 vs 0.5 μmol/L and 0.7 vs 0.6 μmol/L; P < .001 and .03, respectively). Neither plasma retinol nor RDR differed between groups at 36 weeks' PMA. Retinal sensitivity was greater in supplemented infants (-0.81 vs -0.61 log cd • s • m(-2); P < .03) and was not related to RDR. Early high-dose intramuscular vitamin A supplementation for infants at risk of retinopathy of prematurity improves retinal function at 36 weeks' PMA.