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Retina

Patients with retinal artery occlusions face heightened risks of stroke, myocardial infarction

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Patients diagnosed with retinal artery occlusions (RAOs) face significantly increased risks of death, stroke, and myocardial infarction (MI) in both the short-term and long-term compared to a control group diagnosed with cataracts, according to a study.

This highlights the critical importance of urgent stroke evaluation for RAO patients and suggests a need for multidisciplinary evaluation and long-term systemic follow-up to improve their overall care and outcomes.

The study, which analyzed aggregated electronic health records from over 111 million patients, compared outcomes of patients with RAO to a carefully matched control group with age, sex, race, and comorbidities taken into consideration. Patients with a history of stroke or myocardial infarction (MI) within 2 years prior to RAO or cataract diagnosis were excluded.

Among the 34,874 patients with at least 1 year of follow-up in the RAO cohort, the rate of death after RAO diagnosis was notably higher than after cataract diagnosis at various intervals. Notably, the risk of stroke and MI was also markedly elevated in the RAO group compared to the control group.

Specifically, the risk of death, stroke, and MI were consistently higher at 2 weeks, 30 days, 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years after RAO diagnosis compared to the control group. The increased risks persisted both in the short-term and long-term periods.

Reference
Wai KM, Knapp A, Ludwig CA, et al. Risk of Stroke, Myocardial Infarction, and Death After Retinal Artery Occlusion. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online October 26, 2023. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2023.4716

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