Diabetes, Heart, and Cardiovascular Diseases News Chronicle.      Article 276

A Study Shows A Link Between Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO) And Heart Attack


Earlier studies were inconsistent in establishing an association between acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or heart attack and retinal vein occlusion (RVO). A current study shows 21 percent enhanced risk of an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or heart attack with retinal vein occlusion (RVO).

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A link between Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO) and Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) or heart attack.

Researchers think that when there are changes in blood vessels in the retina causing the retinal vein occlusion (RVO), there might also be changes in the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart causing an acute myocardial infarction (AMI). With this belief, researchers say that the retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is associated with the acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

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In the current study, researchers used the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) between 2001 and 2013 to identify 37,921 patients with retinal vein occlusion (RVO) with an average age of 62.4 years. Researchers divided the participants into two groups, the branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) group and the central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) group. Researchers compared them with 113,763 individuals without retinal vein occlusion (RVO). Researchers have done 5.5 years of follow-up study.

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During a 13-year study, 3.2 percent of patients in the retinal vein occlusion (RVO) group and 2.3 percent of the patients in the comparison group had an acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

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After adjusting for confounders, the study has found 21 percent increased the risk of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in the retinal vein occlusion (RVO) group. The study results accounted for risk factors such as sex, age, obesity or body mass index (BMI), stroke, glaucoma, antithrombotic drugs usage and hyperviscosity syndrome. The adjusted hazard ratios of CRVO is 1.35 and that of BRVO is 1.15.

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Researchers say that the risk associated with BRVO and CRVO to heart disease (or acute myocardial infarction. AMI) are not the same. They reported that the CRVO group of patients are at a higher risk of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) compared with the BRVO group of patients.

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This study suggests that a specialist should know the risk of heart attack (acute myocardial infarction. AMI) while providing a treatment to a patient with heart disease risk factors such as hypertension (or high blood pressure) and diabetes (high blood sugar or glucose levels) and retinal vein occlusion (RVO). An ophthalmologist should refer a patient with the risk of heart disease to a heart specialist for an early diagnosis of heart disease to prevent future heart attack (acute myocardial infarction. AMI).

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Lead researcher of the study was Yu-Yen Chen. The study was published on September 12, 2017, in the PLOS One. Title of the article was "Association between retinal vein occlusion and an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction: A nationwide population-based follow-up study."
DOI: doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184016

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Antithrombotic: Drugs to reduce the risk of the formation of blood clots in the bloodstream. Examples are anticoagulants (blood thinners) and antiplatelet drugs (decrease platelet aggregation. Example aspirin).

Confounders: These factors may damage the final result of the study but researchers can not control or eliminate them in their experiments.

Hyperviscosity syndrome: Blood containing a higher percentage of cells can increase the blood viscosity. Due to high viscosity, blood may not move freely within the blood vessels and may cause the hyperviscosity syndrome.

Retinal vein occlusion: Blood from the retina will be taken away by tiny veins. Blockage in these veins may obstruct the blood flow and causes the retinal vein occlusion (RVO). The blockage may happen due to blood clots, hypertension (or high blood pressure. BP), atherosclerosis or diabetes (high blood glucose levels).


Published on December 7, 2017


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