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Ronald H. Silverman, Raksha Urs, Ronald J. Wapner, Srilaxmi Bearelly; Plane-Wave Ultrasound Doppler of the Eye in Preeclampsia. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(10):14. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.10.14.
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Pre-eclampsia (PE) is a serious complication of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, proteinuria, compromised fetal blood supply, and potential organ damage. The superficial location of the eye makes it an ideal target for characterization hemodynamics. Our aim was to discern the impact of PE on ocular blood flow.
18 MHz plane-wave ophthalmic ultrasound scanning was performed on subjects with PE (n = 26), chronic or gestational hypertension (n = 8), and normal controls (n = 19) within 72 hours of delivery. Duplicate three-second long scans of the posterior pole including the optic nerve were acquired at 6000 images/sec for evaluation of the central retinal artery and vein and the short posterior ciliary arteries. The choroid was scanned at 1000 images/sec. Doppler analysis provided values of pulsatile flow velocity and resistance indexes.
End diastolic velocity was higher, and pulsatility and resistive indexes were significantly lower in the choroid, central retinal artery and short posterior ciliary arteries in PE than in controls. Blood pressure was elevated in PE with respect to controls and was negatively correlated with resistance.
Although vasoconstriction is considered characteristic of PE, we found reduced resistance in the orbital vessels and choroidal arterioles, implying vasodilation at this level. Future studies incorporating optical coherence tomography angiography for characterization of the retina and choriocapillaris in conjunction with plane-wave ultrasound scanning, particularly in late pregnancy, might address this conundrum.
Use of plane-wave ultrasound scanning for evaluation ocular blood flow in women at risk for PE may offer an avenue towards early detection and clinical intervention.
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