Severe retinopathy of prematurity is associated with reduced cerebellar and brainstem volumes at term and neurodevelopmental deficits at 2 years

F.J. Drost, K. Keunen, P. Moeskops, N.H.P. Claessens, F. van Kalken, I. Išgum, E.S.M. Voskuil-Kerkhof, F. Groenendaal, L.S. de Vries, M.J.N.L. Benders, J.U.M. Termote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), measures of brain morphology at term equivalent age (TEA) and neurodevelopmental outcome.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: 18 infants with severe ROP (median gestational age (GA) 25.3 (range 24.6-25.9 weeks) were included in this retrospective case-control study. Each infant was matched to two extremely preterm control infants (n=36) by GA, birth weight, sex and brain injury. T2-weighted images were obtained on a 3T MRI at TEA. Brain volumes were computed using an automatic segmentation method. Additionally, cortical folding metrics were extracted. Neurodevelopment was formally assessed at age 15 and 24 months.

RESULTS: Infants with severe ROP had smaller cerebellar volumes (21.4±3.2 vs. 23.1±2.6 ml; P=0.04) and brainstem volumes (5.4±0.5 ml vs. 5.8±0.5 ml; P=0.01) compared with matched control infants. Furthermore, ROP patients showed a significantly lower development quotient (Griffiths Mental Development Scales) at age 15 months (93±15 vs. 102±10; P=0.01) and lower fine motor scores (10±3 vs. 12±2; P=0.02) on Bayley Scales (Third Edition) at age 24 months.

CONCLUSION: Severe ROP was associated with smaller volumes of the cerebellum and brainstem and with poorer early neurodevelopmental outcome. Follow-up through childhood is needed to evaluate the long-term consequences of our findings.Pediatric Research accepted article preview online, 10 January 2018. doi:10.1038/pr.2018.2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818–824
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number4
Early online date10 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Journal Article
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders/complications
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Child, Preschool
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Brain Stem/anatomy & histology
  • Gestational Age
  • Brain Injuries/diagnostic imaging
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity/complications
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Cerebellum/anatomy & histology
  • Time Factors
  • Infant, Premature
  • Female
  • Infant, Extremely Premature
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Infant, Newborn


Dive into the research topics of 'Severe retinopathy of prematurity is associated with reduced cerebellar and brainstem volumes at term and neurodevelopmental deficits at 2 years'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this