Objective: The primary aim of this study was to compare the retinal vessel caliber (RVC) with both arterial stiffness (AS) parameters and nocturnal blood pressure dipping status (DS) in essential hypertension (EH).
Materials and Methods: The retinal vessel diameter of 101 patients with EH and 31 sex- and age-matched healthy controls was measured using retinal fundus photography. Venous blood samples were obtained for biochemical tests and anthropometric measurements were also recorded. The AS parameters of carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV), augmentation index (AIx), and central aortic pressure (CAP) were assessed using a non-invasive TensioClinic arteriographic system (TensioMed Kft., Budapest, Hungary). DS was evaluated using 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure measurements. The baseline characteristics, AS parameters, and the nocturnal DS of hypertensive patients were statistically compared with those of healthy individuals according to RVC values.
Results: The hypertensive group had significantly higher heart rates (p=0.023); AS parameters (PWV [p<0.001], CAP [p<0.001]); and fasting glucose (p=0.028), creatinine (p=0.046), triglyceride (p=0.045), uric acid (p=0.014) and microalbumin-uria (p=0.004) values than the healthy controls. Although there was a significant positive linear correlation between the duration of hypertension and PWV (p=0.024), AIx (aortic) (p=0.005) and AIx (brachial) (p=0.013), no significant difference between the EH patients and the control subjects was observed in the AS parameters and nocturnal DS values according to the RVC value.
Conclusion: The results of this study did not demonstrate a significant correlation between the RVC and the AS parameters and nocturnal DS in EH. Additional prospective studies are warranted to reach a consensus on the clinical significance of RVC measurements in EH.