IMPACT OF RETINOPATHY SCREENINGS FOR PROSPECTIVE HEART TRANSPLANT CANDIDATES

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Abstract

Purpose:

To determine the prevalence of retinopathy among patients undergoing heart transplantation screening and to determine the impact of this finding on eligibility for transplantation.

Methods and Patients:

A retrospective case series was collected to perform an institutional review of all inpatient consults for dilated eye examinations on potential heart transplant candidates over 5.5 years—from March 27, 2008 to October 10, 2014. Measured outcomes included the presence or absence of retinopathy and the effect of retinopathy, if present, on a patient's eligibility for cardiac transplantation.

Results:

A total of 155 heart transplant candidates underwent bedside ophthalmologic examination as part of their heart transplant candidacy workup. Retinopathy was found in 16 (10%) of these patients: diabetic retinopathy in 13 (8.4%) and hypertensive retinopathy in 3 (1.9%). None of these patients were excluded from the transplant candidacy based on the presence of retinopathy.

Conclusion:

On bedside ophthalmologic examination, retinopathy is an uncommon finding among cardiac transplant candidates. Retinopathy did not preclude transplantation in these patients. We question the utility of the present system of bedside ophthalmic consultation of heart transplant candidates. This may not be an optimal allocation of provider resources. Further studies are warranted to determine an appropriate protocol for ocular evaluation of these patients.

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