Retinal emboli and cardiovascular disease: the Beaver Dam Eye Study.

Kleins Lab // Publications // Jan 01 2003

PubMed ID: 14971575

Author(s): Klein R, Klein BE, Moss SE, Meuer SM. Retinal emboli and cardiovascular disease: the Beaver Dam Eye Study. Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 2003;101:173-80; discussion 180-2. PMID 14971575

Journal: Transactions Of The American Ophthalmological Society, Volume 101, 2003

PURPOSE To describe the 10-year incidence of retinal emboli, the associated risk factors, and the relationship of retinal emboli to stroke and ischemic heart disease mortality.

METHODS The Beaver Dam Eye Study (n = 4,926) is a population-based study of persons 43 to 86 years of age. Retinal emboli were detected at baseline (1988-1990) and at a 5-year (1993-1995) and a 10-year (1998-2000) follow-up by grading of stereoscopic 30 degrees color fundus photographs using standardized protocols. Cause-specific mortality was determined from death certificates.

RESULTS The 10-year cumulative incidence of retinal emboli was 1.5%. While adjusting for age and sex, the incidence of retinal emboli was associated with increased pulse pressure (odds ratio [OR] 4th versus 1st quartile range, 2.42; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.98-5.97; P test of trend = .03), higher serum total cholesterol (OR, 2.77; 95% CI, 1.06-7.23; P = .03), higher leukocyte count (OR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.04-4.96; P = .05), smoking status (OR current versus never smoker, 4.60: 95% CI, 2.08-10.16; P < .001), and a history of coronary artery bypass surgery (OR, 7.17; 95% CI, 3.18-16.18; P < .001) at baseline. While controlling for age, sex, and systemic factors, a significantly higher hazard of dying with a mention of stroke on the death certificate was found in people with retinal emboli (hazard ratio, 2.40; 95% CI, 1.16-4.99) compared with those without.

CONCLUSIONS The data show an association of smoking and cardiovascular disease with the incidence of retinal emboli. Also, persons with retinal emboli are at increased risk of stroke-related death.