This is a cross-sectional, prospective study of a population of black diabetic participants without diabetic retinopathy aimed to investigate optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) characteristics and correlations with systemic diseases in this population. These parameters could serve as novel biomarkers for microvascular complications; especially in black populations which are more vulnerable to diabetic microvascular complications. Linear mixed models were used to obtain OCTA mean values ± standard deviation and analyze statistical correlations to systemic diseases. Variables showing significance on univariate mixed model analysis were further analyzed with multivariate mixed models. 92 eyes of 52 black adult subjects were included. After multivariate analysis; signal strength intensity (SSI) and heart disease had statistical correlations to superficial capillary plexus vessel density in our population. SSI and smoking status had statistical correlations to deep capillary plexus vessel density in a univariate analysis that persisted in part of the imaging subset in a multivariate analysis. Hyperlipidemia; hypertension; smoking status and pack-years; diabetes duration; creatinine; glomerular filtration rate; total cholesterol; hemoglobin A1C; and albumin-to-creatinine ratio were not significantly associated with any OCTA measurement in multivariate analysis. Our findings suggest that OCTA measures may serve as valuable biomarkers to track systemic vascular functioning in diabetes mellitus in black patients.
Keywords: African-American; angiography; biomarker; black; complication; diabetes mellitus; microvascular; optical coherence tomography; retinopathy; systemic disease.