Purpose. We examined the incidence, management, and outcomes of patients known to be at high cardiovascular risk, and to assess whether specialist referral to an ophthalmic medical clinic is worthwhile.
Methods. Patients in the East Birmingham area with cholesterolembolus who were identified on digital diabetic retinopathy screening over a 3-year period were referred to a specialist ophthalmic medicine clinic within Heart of England NHS Trust for management and investigation.
Results. A total of 33 patients were referred for clinical management.(male:female = 22:11, mean age 72 years). A total of 28 patients were known to be receiving medication: 14 anti hypertensive therapy(42%), 19 aspirin (59%), and 21 statin (64%). A total of 18 patients had known cardiovascular disease, 10 of whom had received carotid stenting or coronary artery bypass surgery. Ten patients diagnosed with embolus required and consented to carotid Doppler studies. Six patients were confirmed with significant carotid stenosis and 2 (6%)of these patients required carotid endarterectomy surgery. Overall, 4patients died, a mortality rate of 12% over 3 years.
Conclusions. Annual diabetic retinopathy screening provide sopportunistic identification of asymptomatic cholesterol emboli and provides an opportunity for review of medical management in the high-risk patient group with appropriate identification and referral for carotid stenosis surgery. A total of 11 patients were identified with sub optimal cardiovascular risk management: e.g., statin use.
Abstracts of the 21st Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes Eye Complications Study Group (EASDEc)