Retinal arteriolar dilation predicts retinopathy in adolescents with type 1 diabetes.

Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
Diabetes care (Impact Factor: 7.74). 09/2008; 31(9):1842-6. DOI: 10.2337/dc08-0189
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Alterations in retinal vascular caliber may reflect early subclinical microvascular dysfunction. In this study, we examined the association of retinal vascular caliber to incident retinopathy in young patients with type 1 diabetes.
This was a prospective cohort study of 645 initially retinopathy-free type 1 diabetic patients, aged 12-20 years. Participants had seven-field stereoscopic retinal photographs taken of both eyes at baseline and follow-up. Retinal vascular caliber was measured from baseline photographs using a computer-based program following a standardized protocol. Incident retinopathy was graded according to the modified Airlie House classification from follow-up photographs.
Over a median follow-up of 2.5 years, 274 participants developed retinopathy (14.8 per 100 person-years). After adjustments for age, sex, diabetes duration, glycemia, mean arterial blood pressure, BMI, and cholesterol levels, larger retinal arteriolar caliber (fourth versus first quartile) was associated with a more than threefold higher risk of retinopathy (hazard rate ratio 3.44 [95% CI 2.08-5.66]). Each SD increase in retinal arteriolar caliber was associated with a 46% increase in retinopathy risk (1.46 [1.22-1.74]). This association was stronger in female than in male participants. After similar adjustments, retinal venular caliber was not consistently associated with incident retinopathy.
Retinal arteriolar dilatation predicts retinopathy development in young patients with type 1 diabetes. Our data suggest that arteriolar dysfunction may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of early diabetic retinopathy and that computer-based retinal vascular caliber measurements may provide additional prognostic information regarding risk of diabetes microvascular complications.

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