Tags: eye | test | stroke | predict

Eye Test May Predict Stroke

Monday, 11 Jun 2012 11:29 AM


Diagnosing a patient’s risk of having a stroke may soon be as simple as administering an eye test, a new study by Swiss scientists suggests.
Researchers at the University of Zurich showed that a so-called ocular pulse amplitude (OPA) test can reliably detect clogged or blocked arteries that feed the front part of the brain. The condition, known as carotid artery stenosis (CAS), is a key risk factor for stroke.
The study – published in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology – suggests the OPA test could be performed by ophthalmologists (physicians who treat eye diseases) during routine exams to flag patients at high risk of stroke.
"Our results show that [OPA] is a reliable, safe screening test for carotid artery stenosis," said lead researcher Dr. Pascal Bruno Knecht. "We recommend further study to confirm the value of using OPA to detect and assess the severity of CAS and to define its use in stroke prevention."
For the study, the Swiss research team used the OPA test on 67 patients assumed to have CAS. The OPA score is calculated by comparing the difference between the two pressure levels that occur inside the eye during the two phases of the heartbeat -- the systolic and diastolic. When blood flow to the eye is blocked by CAS, there is little difference between the two pressure levels, so the OPA score is low.
The study found that patients with the lowest OPA scores also had the most seriously blocked arteries, as confirmed by ultrasound exams.
Each year, about 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke, and more than 137,000 people die as a result. Because CAS has no symptoms and an efficient test is not available, the disease often goes undetected.



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Diagnosing a patient’s stroke risk may soon be as easy as administering an eye test.
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