Retinal Arterio-Arterial Collaterals in Susac Syndrome

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The ophthalmic findings of Susac syndrome (SS) consist of visual field defects related to branch retinal artery occlusion (BRAO), and fluorescein angiography (FA) reveals a unique staining pattern. To date, retinal arterial collateral development has been described only in a single patient. Given that the immunopathological process in SS induces retinal ischemia, it is conceivable that abnormal blood vessel development may occur in affected individuals.


This is a retrospective observational study. The medical records including fundus photography and FA of all patients with SS were reviewed, and those with any type of retinal arterial collateral were identified.


A total of 11 patients were identified with retinal collaterals. Five were men. Age ranged from 20 to 50 years. Ten patients had arterio-arterial (A-A) collaterals and 1 had arterio-venous (A-V) collaterals, and all had collaterals remote from the optic disc. No collaterals were present at onset of illness and the first developed at 9 months.


The literature reveals scant evidence for the association between BRAO and retinal arterial collaterals. Our findings indicate that retinal arterial collaterals in SS are usually A-A and not A-V and may be more common in this disorder than previously believed. Collaterals do not develop early in the disease, and there may be a predilection toward development in men. The chronic inflammatory state of SS may be the stimulus for the development of these arterial collaterals.

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