Retinal artery occlusions (RAO) cause sudden vision deterioration and visual field defects. While Albrecht von Graefe was the first to describe RAO in 1859, Hollenhorst reported about yellow plaques in the retinal arteries in 1961. Embolism from cardiac valves or plaques of the carotid artery are a common reason for RAO. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) has the potential to diagnose thrombotic material at the cardiac valves or plaques of the aortic arch with more precision than transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). Furthermore associations of RAO with arteriosclerosis is discussed.
117 patients with RAO, that had undergone TEE, were included in our retrospective study.
Around 4.3 % of patients had thrombotic material at the cardiac valves, 10 % persistent foramen ovale, 54.7 % insufficient cardiac valves and 18.8 % plaques in the aortic arch. A total of 88 % of patients had at least one arteriosclerotic risk factor, 68 % arterial hypertension, 59.8 % hypercholesterolemia and 23.1 % diabetes mellitus. Moreover, 36.8 % had antithrombotic therapy and 67.3 % plaques in the internal carotid artery.
Alltogether, 40.2 % of patients had higher risk for thromboembolic complications, diagnosed with TEE.