Retinal arteriolar emboli and long-term mortality: pooled data analysis from two older populations.

Kleins Lab // Publications // Jul 01 2006

PubMed ID: 16741179

Author(s): Wang JJ, Cugati S, Knudtson MD, Rochtchina E, Klein R, Klein BE, Wong TY, Mitchell P. Retinal arteriolar emboli and long-term mortality: pooled data analysis from two older populations. Stroke. 2006 Jul;37(7):1833-6. Epub 2006 Jun 1. PMID 16741179

Journal: Stroke, Volume 37, Issue 7, Jul 2006

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE To assess the relationship between retinal arteriolar emboli and mortality in older people.

METHODS Pooled data from 2 population-based cohort studies. At baseline, the Beaver Dam Eye Study (BDES) examined 4926 persons 43 to 86 years of age (1988 to 1990), and the Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES) examined 3654 persons 49 to 97 years of age (1992 to 1994). Retinal arteriolar emboli were assessed by grading retinal photographs using standardized methods. Deaths and causes of death were determined from death certificates or Australian National Death Index. Cox regression models were used to estimate mortality hazard ratios (HRs) associated with emboli, adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, serum total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, study site, and past histories of stroke, angina, and acute myocardial infarct.

RESULTS Of 8580 baseline participants, 8384 (98%) had retinal photographs available, and 111 showed retinal arteriolar emboli (BDES n=61; BMES n=50). Over 10 to 12 years, 2506 participants (30%) died, including 344 (4%) from stroke-related and 1315 (16%) from cardiovascular causes. The cumulative mortality rates were higher in participants with than without emboli (all-cause 56% versus 30%; stroke-related 12% versus 4.0%; cardiovascular 30% versus 16%). The increased mortality risk associated with emboli was independent of age, gender, other vascular risk factors, and past histories of stroke or heart disease for all-cause (multivariate-adjusted HR, 1.3; CI, 1.0 to 1.8) and stroke-related mortality (HR, 2.0; CI, 1.1 to 3.8) but not for cardiovascular mortality (HR, 1.2; CI, 0.8 to 1.7).

CONCLUSIONS Our pooled data from 2 older populations suggest that retinal emboli predict a modest increase in all-cause and stroke-related mortality independent of cardiovascular risk factors.