- Approximately 32,300 infants worldwide are diagnosed with irreversible vision impairment due to ROP annually, of which approximately 20,000 become blind or severely visually impaired. Despite significant advances in neonatal care, the worldwide number of infants with ROP has been increasing as the survival rate of premature babies has increased.
Dubai: Aster Hospital, Al Qusais has recently marked a significant medical milestone by successfully treating a complex case of Stage 3 Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) in a premature Filipino infant. The achievement was the result of a collaborative effort between Dr. Boopathy Murugavel, an Ophthalmology Specialist, and Dr. Manish Srinivas Murthy, an Anaesthesiology Specialist, both associated with Aster Hospital.
The patient, an extremely premature infant born at only 25 weeks and 6 days through a natural delivery, had an initial birth weight of just 918 grams. Over the course of an 84-day stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), this tiny warrior encountered a series of medical hurdles, including respiratory failure, anemia, urinary tract infection, and sepsis. Nevertheless, the baby displayed remarkable resilience throughout their journey.
The turning point in the baby's medical journey occurred when the infant experienced sustained apnea during an ophthalmic dilatation and examination in the NICU. At the age of 4 months and 25 days, the baby received a diagnosis of Stage 3 ROP with Plus Disease in both eyes. Under the care of Dr. Boopathy Murugavel and Dr. Manish Srinivas Murthy, the patient was admitted for treatment, presenting with anemia of prematurity and retinopathy of prematurity, a condition in which certain babies born prematurely do not have properly developed blood vessels in the retina. This risk is particularly elevated if the baby is born with very low weight or very early. Such infants start to develop abnormal blood vessels in the retina, which can spontaneously rupture and bleed, potentially leading to permanent blindness if not treated promptly. Following a comprehensive pre-anesthesia evaluation, the medical team devised a plan for peripheral laser photocoagulation with IDO (Indirect) Laser.
The baby underwent a careful anesthesia management procedure, including intubation and maintenance under general anesthesia, due to the discomfort associated with neonatal laser therapy. General anesthesia allowed for painless treatment while precisely targeting the affected retinal areas, minimizing harm to healthy tissue. Throughout the 40-minute laser photocoagulation procedure, the medical team closely monitored the baby's vital signs, making necessary adjustments. Post-procedure, antibiotics and lubricants were administered, and the baby was safely reversed, extubated, and closely monitored until fully awake. This successful case underscores the crucial role of medical specialists, Dr. Boopathy Murugavel, Ophthalmology Specialist, and Dr. Manish Srinivas Murthy, Anaesthesiology Specialist, in delivering timely and effective care for at-risk premature infants with ROP.
Dr. Boopathy Murugavel, Ophthalmology Specialist at Aster Hospital, Al Qusais, stated, "At Aster Hospital, our commitment is to provide comprehensive care for premature babies, with a particular focus on specialized eye care. Ensuring the overall welfare of these vulnerable infants is our top priority, and we are dedicated to preserving their vision and well-being. Timely intervention is crucial to prevent irreversible vision loss, and it reflects our mission to provide holistic care for premature infants."
Commenting on the anesthesia management, Dr. Manish Srinivas Murthy, Anaesthesiology Specialist at Aster Hospital, Al Qusais, said, "Managing anesthesia for premature infants with complex medical histories requires a high level of precision and care. We closely monitored the baby's vital signs throughout the procedure, ensuring a successful outcome."
The baby, now in stable condition, has been discharged under the care of the pediatrician. The collaboration between Dr. Boopathy Murugavel and Dr. Manish Srinivas Murthy serves as a testament to the dedication and expertise of the medical team at Aster Hospital, Al Qusais, in providing exceptional care to their patients.
About Aster DM Healthcare
Aster DM Healthcare Limited is one of the largest private healthcare service providers operating in GCC and in India. With an inherent emphasis on clinical excellence, we are one of the few entities in the world with a strong presence across primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary healthcare through our 33 hospitals, 127 clinics, 527 pharmacies* and 229 labs and patient experience centers in seven countries, including India. We have 31,222 dedicated staff including 3,998 doctors and 9,204 nurses across the geographies that we are present in, delivering a simple yet strong promise to our different stakeholders: “We’ll treat you well.” We reach out to all economic segments in the GCC states through our differentiated healthcare services across the “Aster”, “Medcare” and “Access” brands.
*Including 255 Pharmacies in India operated by Alfaone Retail Pharmacies Private Limited under brand license from Aster
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Udhayan Sasidharan Nair
 Retinopathy of prematurity: a review of epidemiology and current treatment strategies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8898617/#:~:text=According%20to%20a%20study%20from,2006%20and%202015%20%5B27%5D.