Development and validation of a new clinical decision support tool to optimize screening for retinopathy of prematurity. Br J Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract.
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Prematurely born infants undergo costly, stressful eye examinations to uncover the small fraction with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) that needs treatment to prevent blindness. The aim was to develop a prediction tool (DIGIROP-Screen) with 100% sensitivity and high specificity to safely reduce screening of those infants not needing treatment. DIGIROP-Screen was compared with four other ROP models based on longitudinal weights. METHODS: Data, including infants born at 24-30 weeks of gestational age (GA), for DIGIROP-Screen development (DevGroup, N=6991) originate from the Swedish National Registry for ROP. Three international cohorts comprised the external validation groups (ValGroups, N=1241). Multivariable logistic regressions, over postnatal ages (PNAs) 6-14 weeks, were validated. Predictors were birth characteristics, status and age at first diagnosed ROP and essential interactions. RESULTS: ROP treatment was required in 287 (4.1%)/6991 infants in DevGroup and 49 (3.9%)/1241 in ValGroups. To allow 100% sensitivity in DevGroup, specificity at birth was 53.1% and cumulatively 60.5% at PNA 8 weeks. Applying the same cut-offs in ValGroups, specificities were similar (46.3% and 53.5%). One infant with severe malformations in ValGroups was incorrectly classified as not needing screening. For all other infants, at PNA 6-14 weeks, sensitivity was 100%. In other published models, sensitivity ranged from 88.5% to 100% and specificity ranged from 9.6% to 45.2%. CONCLUSIONS: DIGIROP-Screen, a clinical decision support tool using readily available birth and ROP screening data for infants born GA 24-30 weeks, in the European and North American populations tested can safely identify infants not needing ROP screening. DIGIROP-Screen had equal or higher sensitivity and specificity compared with other models. DIGIROP-Screen should be tested in any new cohort for validation and if not validated it can be modified using the same statistical approaches applied to a specific clinical setting.