Diabetic retinopathy identified as ‘risk marker’ in coronary artery disease

A new study suggests that the presence and the degree of diabetic retinopathy are independent factors in predicting severe coronary atherosclerosis in people with type 2 diabetes. 

Using the results, the research team from Sohag University and Ain Shams University recommend that the degree of diabetic retinopathy (DR) should be considered when evaluating if a person with type 2 diabetes has a high risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD).

The recent study analysed the association between the degree of DR and the coronary atherosclerosis severity in type 2 diabetes because of “little information about the relation between the degree of DR and coronary atherosclerosis severity in Egyptian patients”.

It involved 140 participants who underwent diagnostic coronary angiography due to suspected coronary artery disease (CAD).

The study’s results state: “Patients with DR had a significantly higher Gensini score (67.86± 44.56 versus 5.93± 9.02, P < 0.001) and a vessel score (2.29± 0.86 versus 0.50± 0.66, P < 0.001). There was a significant relation between the degree of DR, Gensini score (P < 0.001), and vessel score (P < 0.001), as both scores increased according to the severity of DR. The presence and degree of retinopathy were the only independent factors linked to the severity score in multivariate linear regression analyses (P < 0.001).”

The Egyptian researchers summarised: “The presence of DR is an independent predictor of severe CAD. Thus, when evaluating whether a patient with T2DM is at high risk for CVD, the DR degree should be taken into consideration. Our findings have important therapeutic implications since the priority will be for individuals with a severe degree of DR when doing a CAD screening.”

Access the study here.

Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

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