Prevalence and correlates of advanced retinopathy in a large selected hypertensive population. The Evaluation of Target Organ Damage in Hypertension (ETODH) study

Cesare Cuspidi, S. Meani, C. Valerio, V. Fusi, E. Catini, C. Sala, F. Magrini, A. Zanchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. To describe the prevalence of advanced retinal microvascular lesions and their associations with cardiac and extracardiac signs of target organ damage (TOD) in a large selected hypertensive population. Methods. A total of 2172 non-diabetic untreated and treated uncomplicated essential hypertensives consecutively attending for the first time our hospital outpatient hypertension clinic and included in the Evaluation of Target Organ Damage in Hypertension (ETODH), an observational ongoing registry of hypertension-related TOD, were considered for this analysis. Advanced hypertensive retinopathy was defined by the presence of any of the following lesions: flame-shaped haemorrhages, soft exudates or cotton wool spots and papilloedema. Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), carotid structural abnormalities, such as plaques and intima media (IM) thickening, and microalbuminuria were diagnosed according to the 2003 ESH/ESC guidelines criteria. Results. Among the whole study population, 33 patients (1.5%) were found to have advanced hypertensive retinopathy. Patients with these retinal lesions were similar to those without for age, body mass index, known duration of hypertension, smoking habit, total serum cholesterol, fasting blood glucose and prevalence of antihypertensive treatment; whereas mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures were higher in the former group. The prevalence rates of LVH, carotid plaques, carotid IM thickening and microalbuminuria in patients with and without retinopathy were 57%, 67%, 69%, 19% and 25%, 47%, 44%, 12%, respectively. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, advanced retinopathy was significantly associated with LVH (OR=4.0), carotid IM thickening (OR=2.9), carotid plaques (OR=2.8), but not with microalbuminuria. Conclusions. Our study indicates that: (i) advanced retinopathy is a rare finding in non-diabetic hypertensive patients seen in a specialist setting; (ii) a strong relation exists between retinal microvascular lesions and cardiac and macrovascular markers of TOD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-30
Number of pages6
JournalBlood Pressure
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Advanced retinopathy
  • Hypertension
  • Target organ damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine


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