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October 1979

Retinal Arteriolar Changes as an Indicator of Coronary Artery Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Cardiovascular Section, Department of Medicine (Drs Michelson, and Morganroth), Department of Ophthalmology (Dr Nichols) and the Cardiothoracic Surgery Section (Dr MacVaugh), Department of Surgery, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

Arch Intern Med. 1979;139(10):1139-1141. doi:10.1001/archinte.1979.03630470051017

Funduscopic examination was performed in 70 nondiabetic, nonhypertensive patients without valvular heart disease undergoing coronary angiography for evaluation of chest pain syndromes to determine if retinal arteriolar changes could reliably predict presence of coronary artery disease. Retinal arteriolar changes were graded with respect to light reflex, vessel caliber, arteriovenous crossing defects, and vessel tortuosity without knowledge of angiographic findings. Each coronary vessel was graded with respect to its most occlusive lesion by angiography; coronary index was derived for each patient without knowledge of eye findings. Abnormal light reflex changes were the most sensitive indicators of presence and extent of coronary artery disease. Abnormal vessel tortuosity and decreased caliber were less sensitive but more specific; their presence also suggested more extensive coronary lesions. Thus, funduscopic examination demonstrating specific retinal arteriolar lesions may indicate presence of coronary artery disease and may correlate with extent of lesions in selected patients.

(Arch Intern Med 139:1139-1141, 1979)

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