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No-Reflow Phenomenon in Central Retinal Artery Occlusion: Incidence, Risk Factors, and Clinical Implications.

PURPOSE: To investigate the incidence and risk factors of the no-reflow phenomenon in central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) patients and to determine its effects on visual and anatomic outcomes.

METHODS: In 102 eyes with CRAO in which arterial recanalization was obtained within 1 week from baseline, fluorescein angiography images obtained at baseline and 1 week were retrospectively reviewed. The no-reflow phenomenon in the retina was defined as macular capillary nonperfusion following arterial recanalization on fluorescein angiographs. We investigated the incidence and risk factors for the no-reflow phenomenon and compared the anatomical and visual outcomes between eyes with and without the phenomenon.

RESULTS: Among the 102 CRAO eyes with arterial recanalization, 39 exhibited the no-reflow phenomenon, resulting in an incidence of 38.2%. The incidence among the eyes with treatment-induced and spontaneous recanalization was 43.4% and 15.8%, respectively, and it increased with the CRAO stage. CRAO stage and increased central macular thickness were risk factors for the phenomenon, with an odds ratio of 4.47 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.19-16.8; P = 0.027] and 1.69 (95% CI, 1.12-2.55; P = 0.012) per 100-μm increase, respectively. The visual outcome was significantly poorer and retinal atrophy and photoreceptor disruption was greater in eyes with the no-reflow phenomenon than in those without.

CONCLUSIONS: The no-reflow phenomenon may occur after arterial recanalization in approximately one-third of CRAO patients and can affect anatomical and visual outcomes. This phenomenon may provide an additional explanation regarding the permanent retinal damage and vision loss in eyes with CRAO.

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