Text Stroke JAMA Logo

Retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is known to pave way for severe visual impairment in adults. It also seems to be a risk factor for diabetes, hypertension and vascular disease in old age. A latest study claims that RVO patients have a remarkably higher threat of experiencing stroke than those who do not have the disease.

A retrospective cohort study was conducted to compare the incidence rates of myocardial infarction (MI, heart attack) and cerebrovascular accident (CVA, stroke) in hospitalized patients with and without RVO. A U.S. population-based health care was used to lay hands on patients with RVO and control patients, matched for age and sex. While 4,500 were RVO patients, 13,500 had been selected as control patients.

Authors explain, “Although men and patients younger than 65 years with RVO had a 1.6- and 1.9-fold higher risk of MI, respectively, compared with controls, there were no statistically significant differences in MI rates between patients with RVO and controls when they were stratified by sex or age. They conclude that “these data suggest that physicians and patients should be aware of the possible increased risk of CVA but not of MI in patients with RVO.”

It was observed that RVO patients seemingly have an almost two-fold higher incidence of stroke than the age- and sex-matched controls. Winifred Werther, Ph.D., then of Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, Calif., now of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, Mass., and colleagues note that event rates for CVA were 1.16 per 100 person-years for RVO patients. On the other hand, event rates for CVA appeared 0.52 per 100 person-years for controls. However, event rates for heart attack were reportedly similar in both RVO patients and the control patients.

The study is published in the March issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.