The protective effect of L-carnitine supplementation on retinopathy of prematurity: A retrospective cohort study



Premature retinopathy, L-carnitine, Morbidities


Background/Aim: Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is important morbidity in premature infants and is the most common preventable cause of blindness in childhood. Carnitine is a key molecule in energy metabolism and in oxidation of fatty acids, which are the main structural component of phospholipid membrane of the brain and retinal cells. Premature babies are born with insufficient carnitine pools. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of carnitine replacement on ROP in premature infants aged < 34 gestational weeks. Methods: Premature infant records between 2014 and 2019 were retrospectively examined. All premature infants at gestational ages < 34 weeks were included. Data from the two groups who received/did not receive carnitine supplementation in total parenteral nutrition (TPN) over two consecutive time periods and whose ROP examination was complete were recorded retrospectively. Fifty-eight out of 125 infants were in the carnitine group, and 67 formed the non-carnitine group (CG and NCG, respectively). The morbidity data from subjects, especially those with ROP, who received (CG) and did not receive carnitine (NCG), were compared. Results: Of the 125 infants enrolled, no significant differences in gestational age (P = 0.323) or birth weight (P = 0.597) between the groups was found. The Cox regression analysis revealed that carnitine replacement in the premature infant was a protective factor for ROP (P=0.045, B= −0.933, hazard ratio 0.393, 95% confidence interval 0.158–0.978). Conclusion: Carnitine supplementation may offer protection from developing ROP during exposure to oxygen in premature infants.


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Silahlı M, Tekin M, Bilgin B, Özkiraz S. The protective effect of L-carnitine supplementation on retinopathy of prematurity: A retrospective cohort study. J Surg Med [Internet]. 2022 Apr. 1 [cited 2024 May 25];6(4):413-8. Available from: