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September 1992

Retinal Periphlebitis in Patients With Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome With Cytomegalovirus Retinitis Mimics Acute Frosted Retinal Periphlebitis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, Chicago (Dr Rabb); the Department of Ophthalmology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago (Dr Jampol); the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Ophthalmology, Dallas (Dr Fish); Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Ariz (Dr Campo); Retina Physicians and Surgeons Inc, Dayton, Ohio (Dr Sobol); and the Division of Ophthalmology, Cook County (Illinois) Hospital, Chicago (Dr Becker).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1992;110(9):1257-1260. doi:10.1001/archopht.1992.01080210075028

• Acute frosted retinal periphlebitis is an inflammatory condition of unknown origin characterized by marked perivenular infiltration in otherwise healthy patients. We encountered seven patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome who exhibited visual loss associated with an unusual diffuse retinal periphlebitis very similar in appearance to acute frosted retinal periphlebitis. Each patient developed a thick inflammatory infiltrate surrounding the retinal venules, creating a frosted appearance. Two cases were bilateral. All patients had areas of more typical cytomegalovirus retinitis in their involved eye(s). Five of six patients treated with ganciclovir sodium showed improvement not only of the cytomegalovirus retinitis but also of the periphlebitis. Although we do not have histopathologic evidence that cytomegalovirus was the cause of these cases of periphlebitis, we believe that periphlebitis may be a previously unrecognized finding of cytomegalovirus retinitis in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. So far, there is no evidence implicating cytomegalovirus as the cause of acute frosted retinal periphlebitis in healthy patients.

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