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 (20.20 SD score [SDS] [95% confidence interval (CI) 20.24 to 20.18] and 20.14 SDS [20.17 to 20.11], 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.

doi.org/10.1542/peds.2014-3341, hdl.handle.net/1765/84926
Pediatrics (English Edition)
Department of Pediatrics

Gishti, O, Jaddoe, V.W.V, Felix, J.F, Klaver, C.C.W, Hofman, A, Wong, T.Y, … Gaillard, R. (2015). Retinal microvasculature and cardiovascular health in childhood. Pediatrics (English Edition), 135(4), 678–685. doi:10.1542/peds.2014-3341