Injection of tissue plasminogen activator into a branch retinal vein in eyes with central retinal vein occlusion

Ophthalmology. 2001 Dec;108(12):2249-57. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(01)00875-2.


Purpose: Central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) often produces significant and permanent loss of vision in the affected eye. The purpose of this study was to determine if patients with vision loss secondary to CRVO treated with retinal vein cannulation and infusion of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) experienced recovery of visual acuity.

Design: Prospective, noncomparative, interventional case series.

Participants: Thirty eyes of 30 consecutive patients with CRVO underwent the procedure, but two were subsequently excluded. The remaining 28 eyes of 28 patients with CRVO for an average of 4.9 months before intervention (range, 0.25-30 months) and best-corrected visual acuity 20/63 or worse were included in the study.

Intervention: All patients underwent pars plana vitrectomy with cannulation and infusion of t-PA into a branch retinal vein.

Main outcome measures: Change in visual acuity and the development of complications such as vitreous hemorrhage and neovascular glaucoma were monitored.

Results: Twenty-two of 28 patients (79%) experienced at least one line of visual improvement during the follow-up period (average, 11.8 months; range, 3-24 months), and the same number had this level of improvement at the last follow-up examination. Fifteen patients (54%) gained 3 or more lines of acuity within 6 months after the procedure, and 14 (50%) had acuity at last follow-up at least 3 lines better than baseline acuity (average, 6.8 lines). Seven patients had postoperative vitreous hemorrhages ranging from 1 week to 11 months after the procedure; two cleared spontaneously. One patient had a postoperative retinal detachment from a peripheral retinal break that was repaired successfully with pneumatic retinopexy. No other serious intraoperative or early postoperative complications were noted.

Conclusions: Vitrectomy with retinal vein cannulation and infusion of t-PA is a relatively safe procedure that may improve vision in eyes with CRVO.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plasminogen Activators / therapeutic use*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Vein / drug effects*
  • Retinal Vein Occlusion / drug therapy*
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / therapeutic use*
  • Visual Acuity
  • Vitrectomy


  • Plasminogen Activators
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator