Although tissue perfusion is often decreased in patients with sepsis, the relationship between macrohemodynamics and microcirculatory blood flow is poorly understood. We hypothesized that alterations in retinal blood flow visualized by angiography may be related to macrohemodynamics, inflammatory mediators, and retinal microcirculatory changes.
Retinal fluorescein angiography was performed twice during the first 5 days in the intensive care unit to observe retinal abnormalities in patients with sepsis. Retinal changes were documented by hyperfluorescence angiography; retinal blood flow was measured as retinal arterial filling time (RAFT); and intraocular pressure was determined. In the analyses, we used the RAFT measured from the eye with worse microvascular retinal changes. Blood samples for inflammation and cerebral biomarkers were collected, and macrohemodynamics were monitored. RAFT was categorized as prolonged if it was more than 8.3 seconds.
Of 31 patients, 29 (93%) were in septic shock, 30 (97%) required mechanical ventilation, 22 (71%) developed delirium, and 16 (51.6%) had retinal angiopathies, 75% of which were bilateral. Patients with prolonged RAFT had a lower cardiac index before (2.1 L/kg/m2 vs. 3.1 L/kg/m2, P = 0.042) and during angiography (2.1 L/kg/m2 vs. 2.6 L/kg/m2, P = 0.039). They more frequently had retinal changes (81% vs. 20%, P = 0.001) and higher intraocular pressure (18 mmHg vs. 14 mmHg, P = 0.031). Patients with prolonged RAFT had lower C-reactive protein (139 mg/L vs. 254 mg/L, P = 0.011) and interleukin-6 (39 pg/ml vs. 101 pg/ml, P < 0.001) than those with shorter RAFT.
Retinal angiopathic changes were more frequent and cardiac index was lower in patients with prolonged RAFT, whereas patients with shorter filling times had higher levels of inflammatory markers.
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- Retinal arterial blood flow and retinal changes in patients with sepsis: preliminary study using fluorescein angiography
Janne Henrik Liisanantti
Karl Heinz Herzig
Tero Ilmari Ala-Kokko
- BioMed Central
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