Programm                 "Degeneration und Regeneration– Grundlagen, Diagnostik und Therapie"

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Screening for Acute Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP): 1.5 Years Results of Digital Wide-field Camera Based Telemedicine

Elflein H., Lorenz B. for the cooperative study group telemedicine in ROP
Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology, Strabismology and Ophthalmic Genetics, University of Regensburg

Purpose: Screening for acute retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) by retina specialists or pediatric ophthalmologists is not always and everywhere available. Telemedicine appears to solve some of the problems. We report on our 1.5 years experience with digital wide-field cameras (RetCam 120) in 5 Bavarian Neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) connected to the Reading Center at the University of Regensburg.
Method: In January 2001, digital wide-field cameras were installed in the NICUs of Bayreuth, Deggendorf, Passau, Regensburg and Weiden. After informed consent by the parents, retinal images were taken by the local ophthalmologists and sent anonymized (via ISDN), as well as the pediatric data (via email or fax) to the Reading Center for evaluation.
Results: During 1.5 years, 249 premature infants at risk (according to actual guidelines) were screened with the new screening method. 20 eyes of 10 babies needed treatment, which was performed onsite or at the reading center. Apparently, all stages requiring treatment were detected with the camera.
Conclusions: Employment of digital wide-field cameras combined with telemedicine can improve ROP screening in areas, where retina specialists or pediatric ophthalmologists experienced with ROP are not constantly available

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