Spontaneous retinal venous pulsatility in patients with cyanotic congenital heart disease

S. Mojtaba Golzan*, John Leaney, Rachael Cordina, Alberto Avolio, David S. Celermajer, Stuart L. Graham

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Spontaneous retinal venous pulsations (SRVP) are assessed as a clinical marker for patients with ophthalmic or neurological disorders. The pulsations are influenced by intraocular pressure (IOP), cerebrospinal fluid pressure (CSFp), and retinal venous pressure (RVP). However, little is known about the effect of cyanosis with polycythemia, a common finding in adults with complex congenital heart disease (CHD), on SRVP. This study investigated 11 subjects with long-standing cyanosis secondary to CHD and 11 control subjects to determine if there were measurable differences in resting pulsatility for a given IOP level. Intraocular pressure was measured using Goldman tonometry, and dynamic SRVP was recorded noninvasively using a retinal vessel imaging system. Peak amplitude of SRVP at each cardiac cycle was measured and compared with IOP. Heart rate was also monitored during the tests. Results show that for a similar baseline IOP, SRVP amplitudes are significantly lower in cyanotic patients compared with normal subjects (P < 0.0001). This may be explained by an increased RVP or high CSFp in these patients. Mean venous diameter is also significantly higher in cyanotic patients (P < 0.01), but no significant relationship was found between SRVP or diameter with blood parameters.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)618-623
    Number of pages6
    JournalHeart and Vessels
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


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