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Unrecordable pulsatile ocular blood flow may signify severe stenosis of the ipsilateral internal carotid artery


Aim: To examine the relation between stenosis of the internal carotid artery (ICA) and pulsatile ocular blood flow (POBF).

Methods: In 57 eyes of 30 patients who were referred for Doppler ultrasound examination of the ICA we measured POBF and analysed the correlation with degree of ipsilateral ICA stenosis.

Results: There was a significant negative correlation between POBF and ipsilateral ICA stenosis (Pearson correlation coefficient, r  =  −0.516, p <0.0001). In 14 eyes POBF could not be measured by the OBF tonometer, and in 11 of these cases (79%) severe stenosis (>75%) of the ipsilateral ICA was present. When these eyes were excluded from analysis, there was no correlation between POBF and ICA stenosis (r  =  −0.02, p = 0.91). Among these 43 eyes in which POBF could be measured it ranged 667–2095 µl/min with a mean of 970.72 µl/min.

Conclusion: Low or unrecordable POBF may signify severe stenosis of the internal carotid artery. POBF is not a direct reflection of ipsilateral ICA blood flow.

  • blood
  • carotid
  • pulsatile ocular blood flow
  • stenosis

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