Background: Aortic distensibility (AD) and pulse wave velocity (PWV) reflect arterial stiffness, which is linked to increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in different diseases such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus, all of which are also common risk factors in patients with branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO). In the present study, we aimed to determine whether arterial stiffness in different segments of the arterial tree is increased in patients with BRVO.
Methods: The study group consisted of 35 patients with BRVO (20 female, 15 male, mean age: 55.9+/-6.8) and the age-matched control groups consisted of 19 patients with hypertension (9 female, 10 male, mean age: 55.2+/7.6) and 17 healthy subjects (9 female, 8 male, mean age: 53.4+/-9.6). Radial artery PWV was measured using a Pulse Wave Sensor HDI system, which measures non-invasively the radial pulse-wave recording with computer analysis of the diastolic decay, and provides separate assessment of the large arterial elasticity index (LAEI) and small artery elasticity index (SAEI). Aortic strain and AD was determined echocardiographically based on the relationship between changes in aortic diameter and pressure with each cardiac pulse. Patients with diabetes mellitus or inflammatory BRVO, and control patients with any occlusive vascular eye disease, were excluded. The results of the three groups were compared.
Results: Compared to the subjects of the healthy control group, those with BRVO had lower LAEI (p<0.05). Both AD and aortic strain were significantly lower in the BRVO group than in both control groups (p<0.05 for both) and in the hypertensive control group than the healthy controls (p<0.05). The AD, LAEI and SAEI were positively correlated (p=0.021, r=0.307 and p=0.041, r=0.269 respectively).
Conclusions: The results of this study show that the arterial stiffness indices (large arterial elasticity index and aortic distensibility) are abnormal in patients with BRVO compared to the healthy and hypertensive controls. Arterial stiffness may play a role in the onset or progression of BRVO. Further studies are needed to determine the exact role of AS in the pathogenesis of BRVO, and to reveal its value in predicting systemic morbidity and mortality in patients with BRVO.