Oscillatory Potentials of the Electroretinogram in Hypertensive Patients
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Abstract Because alteration of oscillatory potentials of the electroretinogram has been described in diabetic patients without signs of diabetic retinopathy as an early marker of changes in microcirculation, we studied the behavior of these potentials in patients with early-onset hypertension. Electroretinograms were recorded in 24 subjects with essential hypertension (blood pressure >140/90 mm Hg) and in 9 age-matched normotensive control subjects (blood pressure <140/90 mm Hg). Diabetes and ocular diseases were considered exclusion criteria. Sitting blood pressure was measured by a single investigator with a mercury sphygmomanometer after each subject had been at rest for 10 minutes. Funduscopic changes in all subjects did not exceed stage I World Health Organization classification. The oscillatory index was calculated by adding waves O1, O2, and O3 within the b wave of the electroretinogram. Statistical analysis was performed with Student’s t test for paired and unpaired data and linear regression. The oscillatory index was significantly reduced in hypertensive patients compared with normotensive subjects. An inverse relationship was observed when systolic and diastolic blood pressures were plotted against the oscillatory index. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that the electrical activity of the retina is altered early in the course of hypertension and that the influence of systolic pressure on the oscillatory index is greater than that of diastolic pressure.