Retinopathy is a microvascular complication of diabetes mellitus (DM); however, it is also increasingly recognized in persons without DM. The microvascular diseases may play a prominent role in coronary heart disease (CHD) development in individuals with DM. We performed the study to evaluate the relation between non-DM retinopathy and CHD and also the association between baseline retinopathy and incidence and progression of CHD in individuals with and without DM. We included 5709 subjects with and without DM from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, who had retinal photos and coronary artery calcium score (CACS) available. We studied the association between baseline retinopathy and incidence and progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC) in subjects with and without DM. In DM group, the presence of retinopathy was significantly associated with an increased rate of CAC (RR 1.3 (95% CI [1.02, 1.66]) after adjusting for age, sex, race, follow-up time, and CHD risk factors. In non-DM group, the presence of retinopathy was not significantly associated with increased risk of CAC, however, the interaction between presence of retinopathy and DM status was not statistically significant. Within the DM group with CAC present at baseline, the presence of retinopathy was significantly associated with greater CAC progression (113 Agatson units (AU) greater, (95% CI [51-174]). In the non-DM group with present CAC at baseline; the presence of retinopathy was associated with 24 (95% CI [-0.69, 48.76]) AU higher CAC progression. All findings were adjusted for CHD risk factors. In conclusion, after adjustment for major CHD risk factors, retinopathy was associated with progression of CAC in both DM and non-DM individuals. However, the association was stronger in those with DM.
Bahram Khazai, Fatemeh Adabifirouzjaei, Mengye Guo, Eli Ipp, Ronald Klein, Barbara Klein, Mary Frances Cotch, Tien Yin Wong, Ronald Swerdloff, Christina Wang, Prasanth Surampudi, Joel Kaufman, Claire Park, Robert Hendel, Matthew J Budoff