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To analyze an unusual case of widespread chorioretinopathy after cardiac transplantation for its potential etiology and clinical significance.


Clinical examinations included widefield and macular color and fundus autofluorescence photography, spectral domain optical coherence tomography, fluorescein angiography and indocyanine green angiography, full-field electroretinography, and Goldmann visual fields.


A 44-year-old Hispanic woman was referred to rule out retinitis pigmentosa. Medical history revealed cardiac transplantation 6 months previously for idiopathic cardiomyopathy.


Visual acuity was 20/20 in both eyes. The fundi showed widespread gray mottling and little pigmentation, but fundus autofluorescence revealed black speckling broadly across the fundus, and geographic retinal pigment epithelium loss in the nasal midperiphery of the left eye. Spectral domain optical coherence tomography showed normal inner retina, and surprising preservation of outer nuclear layer, but the ellipsoid zone line was fragmented, and the interdigitation zone line was replaced with irregular debris. Retinal pigment epithelium was very thin with occasional excrescences. Electroretinography showed mild loss of both rods and cones, with mild flicker peak delay only in the left eye. Fluorescein angiography showed no leakage, but a reticular pigment pattern in the macula. Indocyanine green angiography showed irregular arteriolar remodeling, and few large arteries.

Discussion and Conclusion:

Serous retinopathy is well known after organ transplantations, but this patient had retinal pigment epithelium and retinal damage well into the periphery and no leakage. Retinal dystrophy was deemed unlikely given the relatively good electroretinography. The indocyanine green vascular changes raise the possibility of a transient choroidal ischemic event during or shortly after cardiac surgery. The event altered retinal pigment epithelium diffusely, but allowed for enough regeneration to sustain retinal function. Diffuse transplant chorioretinopathy may be discovered if postcardiac transplant patients get peripheral retinal examinations.

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