Fish-oil fat emulsion supplementation may reduce the risk of severe retinopathy in VLBW infants.
Pediatrics. 2011 Jan 3. Epub 2011 Jan 3. PMID: 21199856
Departments of Neonatology and.
Objective: The retina contains rods and cones that have membranes highly enriched with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Infants born prematurely are at risk of DHA insufficiency, because they may not have benefited from a full third trimester of the mother's lipid stores. Moreover, within the first 2 to 3 weeks of life, the main sources of lipids for premature infants are fat emulsions, which do not contain DHA. Patients and Methods: This observational study was designed to compare the safety and efficacy outcomes of an intravenous fat emulsion that consists of fish-oil emulsion (contains DHA) with soybean and olive oil, administered from the first day of life to 40 infants who weighed<1250 g; results were obtained from a historical cohort of 44 preterm neonates who were given an emulsion of soybean and olive oil. The primary study outcomes were the occurrence of retinopathy and need for laser therapy and cholestasis. Infants in the 2 groups were comparable with regard to demographic and clinical characteristics and were subjected to the same conventional therapy. Results: There was a significantly lower risk of laser therapy for infants who received an emulsion of soybean, olive oil, and fish oil (P = .023). No significant differences were found in acuity and latency of visual evoked potentials between infants in the 2 groups. There was no infant with cholestasis among those who received fish-oil emulsion, and there were 5 subjects with cholestasis in the historical group (P = .056). Conclusion: Fish-oil-based fat emulsion administered from the first day of life may be effective in the prophylaxis of severe retinopathy.