Evaluation of a remote telemedicine screening system for severe retinopathy of prematurity

Brett A. Begley, Joseph Martin, Geoffrey T. Tufty, Donny W. Suh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the validity of remote telemedicine screening for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in a population of at-risk preterm infants in Iowa and South Dakota. Methods: The medical records for all preterm infants screened for ROP at neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Sioux City, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, from September 1, 2017, to July 31, 2018, were retrospectively reviewed. The RetCam Shuttle (Natus Medical Inc., Pleasanton, CA) was used to capture retinal images, which were posted on a secure server for evaluation by a pediatric ophthalmologist. Infants with suspected ROP approaching the criteria for treatment with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) medications were transferred to the Children's Hospital and Medical Center NICU in Omaha, Nebraska, where a comprehensive examination was performed and treatment was administered when indicated. The remaining infants received an outpatient comprehensive examination by one of two pediatric ophthalmologists within 2 weeks of discharge. Results: A total of 124 telemedicine examinations were performed on 35 infants during the study period. Remote telemedicine screening for referral-warranted ROP using the RetCam Shuttle had a sensitivity of 100%, specificity of 97%, positive predictive value of 66.7%, and negative predictive value of 100%. Of the three infants transferred for referral-warranted ROP, two required treatment with anti-VEGF medications. Good outcomes were noted in all cases, and no patients progressed beyond stage 3 ROP. Conclusions: Telemedicine screening reliably detected referral-warranted ROP in at-risk premature infants at two remote sites, with no poor outcomes during the 11-month period. These results demonstrate the validity and utility of remote telemedicine screening for ROP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-161
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology


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