Retinal arteriolar changes as an indicator of coronary artery disease

Arch Intern Med. 1979 Oct;139(10):1139-41.


Funduscopic examination was performed in 70 non diabetic, nonhypertensive patients without valvular heart disease undergoing coronary angiography for evaluation of chest pain syndromes to determine if retinal arteriolar changes could reliably predict presence of coronary artery disease. Retinal arteriolar changes were graded with respect to light reflex, vessel caliber, arteriovenous crossing defects, and vessel tortuosity without knowledge of angiographic findings. Each coronary vessel was graded with respect to its most occlusive lesion by angiography; coronary index was derived for each patient without knowledge of eye findings. Abnormal light reflex changes were the most sensitive indicators of presence and extent of coronary artery disease. Abnormal vessel tortuosity and decreased caliber were less sensitive but more specific; their presence also suggested more extensive coronary lesions. Thus, funduscopic examination demonstrating specific retinal arteriolar lesions may indicate presence of coronary artery disease and may correlate with extent of lesions in selected patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angiography
  • Arterioles / pathology
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Disease / diagnosis*
  • Coronary Disease / pathology
  • Eye Manifestations
  • Female
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reflex
  • Retinal Vessels / pathology*