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Retinal Signs Predict Risk of Heart Disease in Women

But only modestly adds to risk predicted by Framingham risk score

THURSDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- Retinal vascular caliber predicts the risk of coronary heart disease in women, but does not add much to the predictive ability of the Framingham risk score, according to a report in the July 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Kevin McGeechan, from the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues assessed whether the risk of coronary heart disease could be predicted over and above the Framingham risk score based on retinal vascular caliber and other retinal signs in 9,155 non-diabetic individuals (mean age 59 to 60 years) in the United States.

The investigators found that there were 700 incident cases of coronary heart disease during a mean 8.8 years of follow-up. After adjusting for Framingham risk score, the researchers report that women with wider retinal venular caliber (hazard ratio of 1.27 for a one-standard deviation change) and narrower retinal arteriolar caliber (hazard ratio of 1.31 for a one-standard deviation change) had a higher risk of coronary heart disease. Adding retinal vascular caliber to the Framingham risk model increased the area under the receiver operator characteristic curve by 1.7 percent. There was no association between retinal vascular caliber and coronary heart disease risk for men, the report indicates.

"In conclusion, although retinal vascular caliber independently predicted coronary heart disease risk in women, the incremental predictive ability over that of the Framingham model was modest and unlikely to translate meaningfully into clinical practice," McGeechan and colleagues write.

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