Enteral lipid supplementation in severe retinopathy of prematurity


  • Enteral arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation lowers the risk of severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) by 50% and produces higher overall serum levels of both AA and DHA compared with standard care in extremely preterm infants.

Why this matters

  • Extremely preterm infants miss the third-trimester transfer of maternal polyunsaturated fatty acids AA and DHA, leading to deficiencies which contribute to multiple morbidities including ROP (neurovascular disease that can cause blindness).

  • Enteral AA and DHA supplementation may constitute a more physiological and faster-acting option versus standard care for reducing ROP risk in very preterm infants; however, further trials are required for validation and to identify optimal fatty acid composition for this group.