Aim To investigate the effect of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) apheresis on ocular microcirculation in patients with hypercholesterolaemia.
Methods Six patients with hypercholesterolaemia were included in this study. The diameter of retinal vessels was measured continuously with the retinal vessel analyser before and after LDL apheresis. After baseline assessment a monochromatic luminance flicker was applied to evoke retinal vasodilation. Flicker response was then analysed 50, 70 and 120 s after baseline measurement. In addition, cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, LDL and triglyceride levels were obtained to find a possible correlation between changes in retinal vessel diameter and lipid metabolism before and after apheresis.
Results The mean diameter of the arterioles at baseline was 107.6±2.1 μm and the mean diameter of the venules at baseline was 132.8±3.2 μm. The diameter of the arterioles after apheresis increased to 111.2±2.3 μm after 50 s, 113.2±2.6 μm after 70 s and 113.7±2.6 μm after 120 s, showing a trend to statistical significance at all time points (p=0.046, p=0.028 and p=0.028, respectively). The mean diameter of the venules after apheresis increased to 138.8±5.9 μm after 50 s, 139.8±6.3 μm after 70 s and 141.2±6.0 μm after 120 s, showing a trend to statistical significance at all time points (all p=0.028).
Conclusions Changes in retinal vascular diameter seem to be associated with the systemic effect of a single LDL apheresis. Vasodilatation of the arterioles and the venules improved after LDL apheresis, indicating an improvement of ocular perfusion in patients with hypercholesterolaemia.
- LDL apheresis
- retinal vessel analyser (RVA)
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