Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Eyes Might Be Window Into Common Heart Disorder

Eyes Might Be Window Into Common Heart Disorder

11/18/13

MONDAY, Nov. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Damage to the blood vessels of the eyes or kidneys might help identify people who are at raised risk for a common type of heart-rhythm disorder, a new study suggests.

The disorder, called atrial fibrillation, is common in older people and increases the risk of stroke. It also can trigger heart-related chest pain or heart failure in some patients, the researchers said.

In the new study, which is scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Dallas, researchers followed more than 10,000 middle-aged people for an average of almost 14 years.

Researchers led by Sunil Agarwal, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, found that microvascular changes -- trouble in the smaller vessels of the eyes or kidneys -- appeared to be linked to the presence of atrial fibrillation.

For example, while about six out of every 1,000 people with no microvascular disease developed the heart-rhythm disorder, that figure rose to about nine out of every 1,000 for people with micro-bleeds or micro-aneurysms in the smaller vessels of the eye's retina, the researchers said.

That number rose to almost 17 per 1,000 people for those with signs of vessel damage in the kidneys. It increased to more than 24 per 1,000 in people who had vessel damage in both the eyes and kidneys, the study found.

Why this vessel damage appears to be tied to a higher risk for atrial fibrillation remains unclear, the researchers said.

One expert not connected to the study theorized that small-vessel damage might be an underlying cause of atrial fibrillation.

"This [study] suggests that a potential trigger for developing atrial fibrillation may be worsening microvascular disease," said Dr. Neil Sanghvi, an electrophysiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Therefore, treatments that are able to minimize or prevent microvascular damage may be able to decrease the incidence of atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Kenneth Ong is interim chief of cardiology at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City. "Damage to the vessels in the eyes and kidneys are thought to reflect similar findings in the rest of the body, including the heart," he said.

He added that it's "reasonable to speculate" that patients with such damage might be at higher risk for heart disease.

Sanghvi said patients who have vessel damage in the eyes or kidneys "should consider long-term monitoring, on the order of one or two weeks," to gauge their risk for undetected atrial fibrillation.

Experts note that findings presented at medical meetings typically are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about atrial fibrillation.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Hospital Appoints Chief Information Officer
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >