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22.06.2017 Category: News

Severe ROP can causes hypertension in adulthood

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In a recently published study, Kistner et al. state that Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), an abnormal retinal vascular development found in extremely preterm babies, might be associated with an increased systolic blood pressure in adulthood.

In the study, published in “Neonatology”, in total 69 patients were included: 43 formerly preterm and 26 full-term born young adults as the control group. 22 of the formerly preterm born adults had shown a severe ROP, 21 of them had shown no or only mild ROP. All were born between 1988 and 1993 in Stockholm, Sweden.

The key finding is that the adults formerly born preterm with severe stages of ROP had on average 7.4 mm Hg higher systolic blood pressure than those with no or mild ROP as well as those from the control group. The adults born preterm with no or mild ROP did not differ from controls in blood pressure recordings. While the control group and the ex-preterms with no or mild stages of ROP had an average systolic blood pressure of 124 mm Hg, the young adults who had shown severe stages of ROP had on average a systolic blood pressure of 131 mm Hg. Although the sample was small, Kistner et al. plead for an early follow-up for blood pressure control and if necessary a treatment for all preterm born patients who had shown a severe ROP. 

Preterm birth in general is already associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure. The scientists refer to former research and name immaturity and being born small for gestational age as further reasons.  

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