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Stroke. 2010 Dec;41(12):2757-61. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.599084. Epub 2010 Oct 28.

Retinal vascular calibers and the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage and cerebral infarction: the Rotterdam Study.

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Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus University Medical Center, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



Narrower retinal arteriolar calibers and wider venular calibers are associated with cardiovascular disease, including cerebral infarction. We investigated the association between retinal vascular calibers and the long-term risk for stroke and its subtypes with particular focus on intracerebral hemorrhage.


We included 5518 participants (aged ≥ 55 years) from the prospective population-based Rotterdam Study who were stroke-free at baseline (1990-1993) and of whom digital retinal images were available. Follow-up for incident stroke was complete up to January 1, 2007. Data were analyzed with Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for age and sex and additionally for potential confounders. Arteriolar and venular calibers were entered both separately and simultaneously in the models.


During an average follow-up of 11.5 years, 623 participants developed a first-ever stroke (50 hemorrhagic, 361 ischemic, 212 unspecified). Larger venular caliber was independently associated with an increased risk for stroke (hazard ratio [HR] per SD increase: 1.20; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.09 to 1.33), cerebral infarction (HR: 1.28; 95% CI: 1.13 to 1.46), and intracerebral hemorrhage (HR: 1.53; 95% CI: 1.09 to 2.15). Much weaker, only borderline significant associations were found between arteriolar caliber and risk for stroke (HR per SD decrease: 1.12; 95% CI: 0.99 to 1.23), cerebral infarction (HR: 1.12; 95% CI, 0.98 to 1.27), and intracerebral hemorrhage (HR: 1.25; 95% CI: 0.87 to 1.79). Retinal vascular calibers were strongly associated with lobar hemorrhages and oral anticoagulant-related hemorrhages.


Larger retinal venular caliber is associated with an increased risk for stroke in the general population and, in particular, with an increased risk for intracerebral hemorrhage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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