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March 1989

Retinal Emboli After Open Heart Surgery

Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(3):317. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070010327006

To the Editor.  —While in the early era of open heart surgery several studies reported a high incidence of perioperative retinal emboli,1,2 only one report3 addressing this subject has been published since the late 1970s. Recently, we were faced with a case of retinal septic embolus, which prompted us to study the frequency of retinal emboli immediately after open heart surgery.The ocular fundi of 154 patients, who ranged in age from 6 months to 77 years (mean, 45 years), undergoing open heart surgery were examined one to three days before surgery and again one day after surgery. The fundi were checked through dilated pupils (tropicamide and 10% phenylephrine hydrochloride [Neo-Synephrine]) with an indirect ophthalmoscope by one of the reporting ophthalmologists. Fifty of the patients underwent coronary artery bypass; 81, valve surgery; and 23, correction of congenital heart disease. The range of bypass time was 40 to 391

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