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Prevalence of retinopathy in patients with anemia or thrombocytopenia


Gian Carla Gerli, MD, Dipartimento di Medicina, Chirurgia, Odontoiatria, Ospedale San Paolo, Universita′ di Milano, Via di Rudinì 8, 20142 Milano, Italy
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Abstract:Background and objectives: Fundus lesions can be the accompanying symptom in many hematological diseases. In cases of anemia or thrombocytopenia, the exact mechanism leading to fundus abnormalities is not completely understood. The aim of this study was to calculate the prevalence of fundus lesions in anemic and thrombocytopenic patients, and define the risk factors for retinopathy. Design and methods: This cross-sectional study involved 226 patients with anemia and/or thrombocytopenia and a control group of 47 age-matched subjects. The studied variables were age, gender, hemoglobin levels, mean cell volume (MCV), red cell distribution width coefficient variation (RDW-CV), the type of onset of anemia, platelet counts, mean platelet volume (MPV), platelet distribution width (PDW), the platelet–large-cell ratio (P-LCR), prothrombin time (PT) and partial thromboplastin time (PTT). Results: Retinopathy was observed in 28.3% of the patients as a whole, the presence of fundus lesions being closely associated with severe anemia (Hb < 8 g/dL) and severe thrombocytopenia (PLT < 50 × 109/L). Among the patients with concomitant anemia and thrombocytopenia, the incidence of retinopathy was 38%. Age, low hemoglobin levels, platelet counts, RDW-CV, and increased MCV, MPV and P-LCR were all significantly associated with the presence of fundus lesions at univariate analysis. Interpretation and conclusions: Retinopathy is a frequent finding in anemic and thrombocytopenic patients, although it is often not significant clinically. As retinal hemorrhages were found in all of the patients with concomitant severe anemia and thrombocytopenia, it is recommended that all such patients undergo routine fundus examinations.