Assessment of the conjunctival microcirculation for patients presenting with acute myocardial infarction compared to healthy controls

Paul Brennan, Andrew McNeil, Min Jing, Agnes Awuah, Sharon Moore, Mailey Jonathan, D Finlay, Kevin Blighe, James McLaughlin, M. Andrew Nesbit, Emanuele Trucco, Tara C. B. Moore, Mark Spence

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Microcirculatory dysfunction occurs early in cardiovascular disease (CVD) development. Acute myocardial infarction (MI) is a late consequence of CVD. The conjunctival microcirculation is readily-accessible for quantitative assessment and has not previously been studied in MI patients. We compared the conjunctival microcirculation of acute MI patients and age/sex-matched healthy controls to determine if there were differences in microcirculatory parameters. We acquired images using an iPhone 6s and slit-lamp biomicroscope. Parameters measured included diameter, axial velocity, wall shear rate and blood volume flow. Results are for all vessels as they were not sub-classified into arterioles or venules. The conjunctival microcirculation was assessed in 56 controls and 59 inpatients with a presenting diagnosis of MI. Mean vessel diameter for the controls was 21.41 ± 7.57 μm compared to 22.32 ± 7.66 μm for the MI patients (p < 0.001). Axial velocity for the controls was 0.53 ± 0.15 mm/s compared to 0.49 ± 0.17 mm/s for the MI patients (p < 0.001). Wall shear rate was higher for controls than MI patients (162 ± 93 s −1 vs 145 ± 88 s −1, p < 0.001). Blood volume flow did not differ significantly for the controls and MI patients (153 ± 124 pl/s vs 154 ± 125 pl/s, p = 0.84). This pilot iPhone and slit-lamp assessment of the conjunctival microcirculation found lower axial velocity and wall shear rate in patients with acute MI. Further study is required to correlate these findings further and assess long-term outcomes in this patient group with a severe CVD phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7660
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date7 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the Heart Trust fund, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast; the Regional Medical Cardiology Centre (RMCC), Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast; Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke (NICHS) and the Ulster University all of which are located in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. The work, in part, for image processing and microcirculatory parameters estimation was funded by Interreg SEUPB funding associated with Eastern Corridor for Medical Engineering (ECME).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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