Retinal vascular calibers in contemporary patients with chronic systemic inflammatory diseases: The Greek REtinal Microcirculation (GREM) study

Evaggelia K. Aissopou*, Athanase D. Protogerou, Theodore G. Papaioannou, Maria Tektonidou, Nikolaos Tentolouris, Panagiotis G. Theodossiadis, Coen D. A. Stehouwer, George D. Kitas, Petros P. Sfikakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Chronic systemic inflammatory diseases (CSID) are associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Widening of retinal venular calibers has been independently associated with systemic inflammation and cardiovascular risk in the general population. We aimed to test the hypothesis that retinal vessel calibers are altered in a population with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and spondyloarthropathies (SpA) compared to a reference group (RG).

Methods: Between 2012 and 2014 digital retinal images were obtained from consecutive individuals and retinal vessel calibers were measured with validated software to determine central retinal arteriolar and venular equivalents.

Results: One hundred eighty-eight patients with CSID [(74 RA, 75 SLE, 39 SpA), (70.2% females, mean age 50.4 +/- 12.5 years)] and 512 non-CSID individuals [(187 normotensives and 325 hypertensives, 90 of whom untreated; RG), (43.7% females, mean age 52.3 +/- 11.7)] were recruited. Logistic regression analysis after adjustment for all factors associated with retinal vessel calibers in univariate analysis (age, sex, body mass index, blood pressure, anti-hypertensive/lipid modifying drugs and disease duration), showed that both arteriolar and venular retinal vessel calibers were comparable between CSID patients and the RG. No significant differences were found regarding retinal vessel calibers between each patient subgroup and the RG.

Conclusions: Retinal vessel calibers were not significantly altered in patients with CSID. Well-controlled disease, as indicated by inflammatory indices, may be an explanation of our results suggesting that sufficient control of inflammation could improve microvascular abnormalities in these populations. (C) 2017 Association for Research into Arterial Structure and Physiology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalArtery Research
Volume18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Retinal vascular caliber
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Systemic inflammation
  • Retinal microcirculation
  • INDIVIDUAL PARTICIPANT DATA
  • RHEUMATOID-ARTHRITIS
  • CARDIOVASCULAR RISK
  • VESSEL DIAMETERS
  • METAANALYSIS
  • ASSOCIATIONS
  • HYPERTENSION
  • ARTERIOLAR
  • RATIO

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