Retinal arteriolar diameter response to flicker light provocation - A useful marker for risk stratification in cardiovascular disease?

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To to evaluate the benefit of bilinear and linear fitting to characterize the retinal vessel dilation to flicker light stimulation for the purpose of risk stratification in cardiovascular disease.


Methods Forty-five patients (15 with coronary artery disease (CAD), 15 with Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and 15 with CAD and DM) all underwent contact tonometry, digital blood pressure measurement, fundus photography, retinal vessel oximetry, static retinal vessel analysis and continous retinal diameter assessment using the retinal vessel analyser (and flicker light provocation). In addition we measured blood glucose (HbA1c) and keratinin levels in DM patients.


Results With increased severity of cardiovascular disease a more linear reaction profile of retinal arteriolar diameter to flicker light provocation can be observed.


Absolute values of vessel dilation provide only limited information on the state of retinal arteriolar dilatory response to flicker light. The approach of bilinear fitting takes into account the immediate response to flicker light provocation as well as the maintained dilatory capacity during prolonged stimulation. Individuals with cardiovascular disease however show a largely linear reaction profile indicating an impairment of the initial rapid dilatory response as usually observed in healty individuals.

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