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Early detection of microvascular changes in the retina may be important for the risk assessment of cardiovascular health. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate imaging biomarkers in fluorescein angiography (FA) as potential predictors for cardiovascular mortality. In this retrospective, matched case-control study, we included FA images from clinical routine data between 2007 and 2018 of 100 patients who died of macrovascular events (Group 1) and 100 age- and sex-matched controls (Group 2). All patients were under treatment for different, mostly retinal, ocular diseases. FA images were used for the measurement of the foveal avascular zone (FAZ) and the arteriolar and venular caliber. Patients mean age on examination day was 69.5 ± 8.3 years with a 1:1 female:male subject ratio. Mean FAZ area of our sample was 0.340 ± 0.135 mm2 for Group 1 and 0.264 ± 0.137 mm2 for Group 2 (P < 0.001), showing a larger FAZ area in patients who subsequently died of macrovascular-related systemic diseases. Individuals effected by a macrovascular-related disease show a larger FAZ on FA examinations before the event compared to patients which are unaffected. Our results highlight a possible role of the FAZ as additional biomarker for the cardiovascular condition.


Felix Goldbach, Georgios Mylonas, Martin Riegelnegg, Jonas Brugger, Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth, Bianca S Gerendas. Association of microvascular biomarkers in fluorescein angiography with macrovascular-related mortality in clinical routine data. PloS one. 2022;17(5):e0266423

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PMID: 35511907

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