Retinopathy linked with cardiovascular disease

February 27, 2008

Diabetic retinopathy (DR), particularly in the more advanced stages, is associated with an increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidence.

Diabetic retinopathy (DR), particularly in the more advanced stages, is associated with an increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidence, according to the results of a study published in the January issue of Diabetic Medicine.

Giovanni Targher and co-workers from the Hospital of Negrar and the University Hospital of Verona, Italy investigated the association between DR and the risk of incident CVD in 2,103 Type 2 diabetic outpatients who were free from CVD at baseline. Retinal findings were classified based on fundoscopy to categories of no retinopathy, non-proliferative retinopathy and proliferative/laser-treated retinopathy.

During the seven-year follow-up period, 406 subjects developed incident CVD events. Following adjustment for age, body mass index, waist circumference, smoking, lipids, glycated haemoglobin, diabetes duration and medication use, patients with non-proliferative or proliferative/laser-treated retinopathy had a greater risk (p<0.001) of incident CVD events than those without retinopathy.

After additional adjustments for hypertension and advanced nephropathy, the risk of incident CVD markedly increased in those with proliferative/laser-treated retinopathy but not in those with non-proliferative retinopathy.

It was concluded that DR is associated with an increased CVD incidence.