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Delia Baleanu, Martin Ritt, Joanna Harazny, Josef Heckmann, Roland E. Schmieder, Georg Michelson; Wall-to-Lumen Ratio of Retinal Arterioles and Arteriole-to-Venule Ratio of Retinal Vessels in Patients with Cerebrovascular Damage. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(9):4351-4359. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-3266.
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purpose. There is evidence that generalized retinal arteriolar narrowing, which can be measured by the arteriole-to-venule ratio (AVR) of retinal vessels, predicts cerebrovascular events. The wall-to-lumen ratio (WLR) and wall cross-sectional area (WCSA) of retinal arterioles reflect structural arteriolar parameters. The primary objective was to test the association between WLR and AVR in a distinct cohort of patients with cerebrovascular damage.
methods. In this cross-sectional study, 23 patients (57.5 ± 9.4 years) with acute transitory ischemic attack or lacunar cerebral infarct were compared with two age-matched control groups: 83 subjects with essential hypertension (53.7 ± 5.5 years) and 16 normotensive subjects (52.2 ± 8.3 years). Retinal arteriolar parameters (WLR, WTH, and WCSA) were assessed in vivo with scanning laser Doppler flowmetry (SLDF). AVR and a qualitative evaluation of retinal vessels were obtained from digital retinal color photographs. The intima–media thickness (IMT) of the carotid artery was measured.
results. WLR (0.44 ± 0.1 vs. 0.34 ± 0.1 vs. 0.30 ± 0.1, P < 0.001) and carotid IMT (P < 0.05) were significantly greater in the cerebrovascular event group compared with normotensive subjects. WLR and WCSA were significantly higher in the cerebrovascular event group compared with subjects with mild arterial hypertension. AVR was similar in all three study groups (0.75 ± 0.07 vs. 0.74 ± 0.07 vs. 0.78 ± 0.1, P = 0.18).
conclusions. The increase in WLR and WCSA of retinal arterioles, as well as in IMT in patients with cerebrovascular damage suggests vascular hypertrophy in the microvascular and macrovascular bed. The lack of association between AVR of retinal vessels and WLR of retinal arterioles may point to different stages of cerebrovascular disease and/or different pathophysiological changes in the arteriolar wall.
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