Unique Cardiovascular Risk Factors Found in Age-Related Macular Degeneration

By Patrick Daly - Last Updated: May 31, 2023

A recent study evaluated a cohort of patients with age-related macular degeneration from the UK Biobank to investigate potential associations between atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and incident CVD events or all-cause mortality.

According to the report, published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology, the researchers found some risk factors for incident CVD events and all-cause that were unique to patients with age-related macular degeneration compared with healthy controls.

Specifically, each 10 U/L increase in serum gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) level was linearly associated with incident events of atherosclerotic CVD (hazard ratio [HR], 1.03; 95% CI, 1.oo-1.07; P=.85). Additionally, a history of chronic kidney disease (HR, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.09-3.46) and lower vitamin D level were significantly associated with all-cause mortality, with vitamin D presenting in a U-shaped curve per nanomoles per liter (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.97-0.99; P=.02).

CKD, GGT, and Vitamin D Linked to CVD Risk

The analysis included 3508 patients (37.76% male; mean age, 61.45±6.43 years) with age-related macular degeneration. Over a median follow-up of 12 years, the cohort had 110 and 186 atherosclerotic CVD and all-cause mortality events, respectively. Analysis of age-related macular regeneration subtypes could not be performed due to data limitations.

Overall, the study’s authors suggested that, in long-term patients with age-related macular degeneration, GGT was associated with CVD events while chronic kidney disease and vitamin D deficiency were associated with mortality.

“In the health care of [age-related macular degeneration], initiation and the long-term control of risk factors along with a heart-healthy lifestyle may be warranted,” they concluded.

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