Colour Doppler imaging evaluation of blood flow parameters in the ophthalmic artery in acute and chronic phases of optic neuritis in multiple sclerosis.

Acta Ophthalmol 2009 Feb 19;87(1):65-70. Epub 2008 Jun 19.

Neurological Clinic, Listopadu, Ostrava-Poruba, Czech Republic.

Purpose: Optic neuritis (ON) is a common manifestation of multiple sclerosis (MS). It is caused by the immune-mediated inflammation of the optic nerve. Some vascular factors that may influence blood flow in the ophthalmic artery (OA) have also been suggested as factors in the pathogenesis of ON. The purpose of our study was to evaluate blood flow velocities and resistance (RI) and pulsatile (PI) indices in the OA in both orbits in patients in the acute and chronic phases of unilateral ON and to compare these with equivalent findings in healthy control subjects.

Methods: Orbital colour Doppler imaging (CDI) was performed in 40 consecutive MS patients during acute unilateral ON prior to corticosteroid treatment. Optic neuritis was diagnosed on the basis of clinical presentation and facultative assessment of visual evoked potentials (VEPs). The peak systolic (PSV) and end-diastolic (EDV) velocities and RI and PI were measured in the OA in both eyes. We compared results from affected and unaffected orbits using the paired t-test. The same measurements were performed in 114 MS patients with a history of acute unilateral ON that occurred > 1 year prior to ultrasound examination. We also measured the same parameters in the middle cerebral arteries (MCAs) on both sides in all subjects in both groups. The same measurements were obtained in healthy controls.

Results: The PSV (p < 0.0001), RI (p < 0.0001) and PI (p < 0.0001) in the OA in the eye affected with acute ON were significantly higher than in the unaffected eye. There was no difference in EDV in the OA between affected and unaffected eyes (p > 0.05) in the group with acute ON. We did not observe any significant differences between eyes in either blood flow velocities or the RI or PI (p > 0.05) in the group in the chronic phase of ON or in the control group. All the parameters in the MCAs on both sides were normal in both the acute and chronic groups, as well as in the control group.

Conclusions: Pathophysiological changes during acute unilateral ON influence orbital haemodynamics, as is indicated by increased PSV, RI and PI in the OA in eyes affected with ON. However, these changes do not persist over longer periods.

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