Arteriovenous crossing patterns in branch retinal vein occlusion. The Eye Disease Case-Control Study Group

J Zhao, S M Sastry, R D Sperduto, E Y Chew, N A Remaley
Ophthalmology 1993, 100 (3): 423-8

PURPOSE: The study was designed to evaluate the relative anatomic position of the crossing vessels at the site of occlusion in eyes with branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO).

METHODS: Fundus photographs of 106 eyes (104 patients) with recent BRVO from the Eye Disease Case-Control Study were used to examine the relative position of artery and vein at occluded crossings. Three separate comparison groups were formed by identifying corresponding arteriovenous crossings for each occluded crossing in: (1) the ipsilateral but opposite vessel arcade within eyes affected by BRVO; (2) the same quadrant in unaffected eyes of BRVO patients; and (3) the same quadrant in eyes of patients without BRVO, matched by age, sex, and race with the BRVO patients.

RESULTS: The site of obstruction of the branch vein was an arteriovenous crossing in all affected eyes. In 99% of eyes with BRVO, the artery was located anterior to the vein at the obstructed site. In the three comparison groups, the artery was anterior to the vein in 62%, 61%, and 54% of the crossings, respectively, yielding statistically significant differences for each group of control crossings compared with BRVO crossings (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Finding the vein to be consistently between the more rigid artery and the retina at almost all arteriovenous crossings affected by BRVO suggests a possible role for mechanical obstruction in the pathogenesis of BRVO.

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