Mild Retinopathy Is a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Mortality in Japanese With and Without Hypertension
The Ibaraki Prefectural Health Study
Background—It is unclear whether mild hypertensive retinopathy is a risk factor for mortality. This study examined whether mild hypertensive retinopathy could be a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality in subjects with and without hypertension.
Methods and Results—In this cohort study, 87 890 individuals (29 917 men and 57 973 women) 40 to 79 years of age in 1993 were followed up until 2008. Retinal photography was classified as normal, grade 1, or grade 2 based on the Keith-Wagener-Barker system. Risk ratios for all-cause and cause-specific mortality for each classification were calculated with Cox proportional hazards regression models. Covariates included age, systolic blood pressure, antihypertensive medication use, and other cardiovascular risk factors. Multivariable hazard ratios for total cardiovascular disease mortality were 1.24 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12–1.38) and 1.23 (95% CI, 1.03–1.47) for grades 1 and 2 among men and 1.12 (95% CI, 1.01–1.24) and 1.44 (95% CI, 1.24–1.68) for grades 1 and 2 among women, respectively. Hazard ratios for total stroke mortality were 1.31 (95% CI, 1.13–1.53) and 1.38 (95% CI, 1.08–1.77) for grades 1 and 2 among men and 1.30 (95% CI, 1.12–1.50) and 1.70 (95% CI, 1.36–2.11) for grades 1 and 2 among women, respectively. For both hypertensive and normotensive subjects of each sex, multivariable hazard ratios for all-cause mortality, total cardiovascular mortality, and total stroke mortality were significantly higher for grade 1 or 2 compared with normal.
Conclusions—Mild hypertensive retinopathy is a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality independently of cardiovascular risk factors among men and women with and without hypertension.
- Received June 15, 2011.
- Accepted September 28, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.