Aim: To investigate blood flow velocities in the ophthalmic and central retinal arteries (CRAs) in patients with diabetic retinopathy before and after atorvastatin treatment.
Methods: 45 patients with type 2 diabetes were included in this double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The patients with diabetes were divided into three subgroups: group 1 (n = 15) included patients with non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR); group 2 (n = 15) had patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR); and group 3 (n = 15; placebo group) included 8 patients with NPDR and 7 patients with PDR. The patients in groups 1 and 2 (atorvastatin group) received 10 mg atorvastatin daily for 10 weeks. Pre-treatment and post-treatment serum levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride were recorded before and after treatment. Ocular blood flow velocities of the ophthalmic artery and CRA were evaluated by colour Doppler imaging before and after treatment in each group.
Results: The baseline haemodynamic parameters were similar between atorvastatin and placebo groups (p>0.05 for both). Atorvastatin significantly decreased serum levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides in groups 1 and 2 compared with pretreatment levels (p<0.001 for both). The mean peak systolic flow velocities (PSVs) of the ophthalmic artery in group 2, and the mean PSV and resistive indices of the CRA in groups 1 and 2 decreased significantly after atorvastatin treatment (p<0.05 for both), whereas the mean end diastolic flow velocity of the ophthalmic artery and CRA did not change (p>0.05). There was no significant difference in ocular blood flow velocities in the placebo group (p>0.05).
Conclusion: Atorvastatin may have a role in reducing diabetic retinal complications, with improvement in vascular resistance and decrease in the mean PSVs of the ophthalmic artery and CRA. However, further studies with large numbers of patients are needed to obtain the long-term results of this drug.
- CDI, colour Doppler imaging
- CRA, central retinal artery
- EDV, end diastolic velocity
- HMG-CoA, hydroxymethyl glutaryl coenzyme A
- NPDR, non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy
- PDR, proliferative diabetic retinopathy
- PSV, peak systolic velocity
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Published Online First 13 September 2006
Competing interests: None.
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