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High pulse wave velocity is associated with the severity of diabetic retinopathy in patients with type 2 diabetes


Pulse wave velocity (PWV) is a non-invasive test for assessing arterial stiffness, and brachial-ankle PWV has been used as an index of peripheral arterial stiffness. This study aimed to investigate the association between the PWV value and severity of diabetic retinopathy (DR). 846 patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) consecutively underwent brachial-ankle PWV, and the degree of PWV was defined by tertile. The severity of DR was categorized as no diabetic retinopathy (NDR), non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) or proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) based on the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study Scale. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were utilized not only to explore the association between the degree of PWV and severity of DR but also to examine the association of a high-tertile PWV with PDR. PWV levels, diabetes duration and blood pressure were all significantly higher in subjects with NPDR or PDR as compared with individuals with NDR. In the univariate analysis, the highest tertile of PWV (>19.6 m/s) was significantly associated with both NPDR (p<0.001) and PDR (p<0.001) as compared with NDR. After adjusting for confounding factors, the highest tertile of PWV remained significantly associated with PDR (p=0.005), but not with NPDR (p=0.107). Furthermore, the highest tertile of PWV was more significantly associated with PDR (OR=6.15, 95%CI 1.38 to 27.38) as compared with the lowest tertile. In our study, an increasing degree of PWV was positively associated with the severity of DR. High PWV was strongly associated with the risk of severe DR, especially PDR.

  • diabetes complications
  • retina
  • vascular stiffness

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