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Brief Report
January 2019

Association of Intravitreal Injections With Blood Pressure Increase: The Following Excitement and Anxiety Response Under Intravitreal Injection Study

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, Department of BioMedical Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 2Bern Photographic Reading Center, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 3Department of Anesthesiology, Inselspital, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2019;137(1):87-90. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2018.4892
Key Points

Question  Is there an increase of blood pressure during intravitreal injections?

Findings  In this prospective study, there was a substantial increase in systolic blood pressure during intravitreal injections in some individuals. About 10% of patients had systolic blood pressure rise to greater than 200 mm Hg.

Meaning  Because systolic blood pressure can become substantially elevated during intravitreal injections, future work may be needed to determine whether, in patients at risk for cardiovascular or cerebrovascular events, perioperative blood pressure monitoring or antihypertensive therapy needs to be considered.

Abstract

Importance  Despite the unquestionable effectiveness of anti–vascular endothelial growth factor therapy (VEGF), there is ongoing controversy about potential systemic adverse effects. Besides the direct adverse effects of anti-VEGF agents, other factors associated with the injection itself, such as perioperative blood pressure fluctuations, may contribute to adverse events.

Objective  To determine blood pressure fluctuations during intravitreal injections.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Prospective observational study at a tertiary referral center (Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Bern, Bern, Switzerland). Consecutive patients scheduled for intravitreal injections were recruited. Data were analyzed between October 2017 and January 2018.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Systolic and diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, and oxygen saturation were recorded before, during, and after the intravitreal injection. An anxiety questionnaire was completed by all participants. Multivariate regression analysis was used to investigate potential factors associated with blood pressure rise during injections.

Results  Two hundred one patients (92 women and 109 men) were included in this study, with a mean age of 68 years (range, 18-93 years). Mean (SD) systolic blood pressure increased from a baseline of 150 (20) mm Hg to 162 (24) mm Hg following the preparation procedure to 168 (24) mm Hg during the injection (P < .001). Mean (SD) diastolic blood pressure increased from 78 (14) mm Hg to 83 (37) mm Hg to 83 (16) mm Hg, respectively (P = .009). Mean (SD) pulse frequency increased from 76 (13) bpm to 80 (13) bpm (P = .005). In total, 23 patients (11%) had a systolic blood pressure greater than 200 mm Hg. This subgroup of patients had a mean (SD) perioperative systolic blood pressure increase from 182 (19) mm Hg to 214 (12) mm Hg, resulting in an increase of 32 (20) mm Hg (P < .001). Age and anxiety were to be next associated with systolic blood pressure rise.

Conclusions and Relevance  The intravitreal injection process is associated with a transient increase in blood pressure. Most of the increase occurs following the preparation before the injection itself. This may constitute a risk factor for cardiovascular or cerebrovascular complications during treatment and could be of particular relevance in patients at high risk for such events and those receiving frequent injections. Future work may be needed to determine whether, in patients at risk for cardiovascular or cerebrovascular events, perioperative blood pressure monitoring or antihypertensive therapy needs to be considered.

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