Blood Pressure and Retinal Microvascular Characteristics During Pregnancy
Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) Study
Changes in maternal blood pressure during pregnancy are associated with poor maternal and neonatal outcomes. We investigated whether maternal blood pressure during midpregnancy has an impact on the retinal microcirculation among pregnant Asian women. A total of 665 pregnant women aged 18 to 46 years were recruited from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes Study. Blood pressure and retinal vascular parameters were both measured at 26 weeks' gestation following a standardized protocol. Blood pressure was measured by a digital automatic blood pressure monitor (Omron HEM 705 LP). Quantitative retinal vascular parameters were assessed by a semiautomated computer-based program (Singapore I Vessel Assessment, version 3.0). In multiple linear regression models, every 10-mm Hg increase in mean arterial blood pressure was associated with a 1.9-μm (P<0.001) reduction in retinal arteriolar caliber, a 0.9° (P=0.05) reduction in retinal arteriolar branching angle, and a 0.07 (P<0.01) reduction in retinal arteriolar fractal dimension, respectively. Patients classified into a high-risk group in developing preeclampsia (mean arterial blood pressure ≥90 mm Hg) were twice as likely (odds ratio 2.1 [95% CI, 1.0–4.4]) to have generalized retinal arteriolar narrowing compared with those classified into a low-risk group (mean arterial blood pressure <90 mm Hg). Retinal venular caliber and vascular tortuosity were not associated with blood pressure measures. Elevated blood pressure is associated with a range of retinal arteriolar changes in pregnant women, providing evidence for an impact of blood pressure on the microcirculation during pregnancy.
- blood pressure
- vascular biology
- retinal blood vessels
- retinal vascular caliber
- pregnant women
- Received March 15, 2012.
- Revision received March 30, 2012.
- Accepted April 21, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.