Retinal microvasculature and cardiovascular health in childhood.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Alterations in retinal microvasculature are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. We examined the associations of retinal vessel caliber with cardiovascular markers in school-age children. METHODS: Among 4007 school-age children (median age of 6.0 years), we measured cardiovascular markers and retinal vessel calibers from digitized retinal photographs. RESULTS: Narrower retinal arteriolar caliber was associated with higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure (-0.20 SD score [SDS] [95% confidence interval (CI) -0.24 to -0.18] and -0.14 SDS [-0.17 to -0.11], respectively, per SDS increase in retinal arteriolar caliber), mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure, but not with carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, heart rate, cardiac output, or left ventricular mass. A wider retinal venular caliber was associated with lower systolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure and higher carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity difference = 0.04 SDS [95% CI 0.01 to 0.07] per SDS increase in retinal venular caliber). Both narrower retinal arteriolar and venular calibers were associated with higher risk of hypertension at the age of 6 years, with the strongest association for retinal arteriolar caliber (odds ratio 1.35 [95% CI 1.21 to 1.45] per SDS decrease in arteriolar caliber). Adjustment for parental and infant sociodemographic factors did not influence the observed associations. CONCLUSIONS: Both retinal arteriolar and venular calibers are associated with blood pressure in school-age children, whereas retinal venular caliber is associated with carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity. Microvascular adaptations in childhood might influence cardiovascular health and disease from childhood onward.
Gishti, O; Jaddoe, VWV; Felix, JF; Klaver, CCW; Hofman, A; Wong, TY; Ikram, MK; Gaillard, R
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