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Eye stroke is focus of American Heart Association statement

Mar. 18, 2021, 9:06 AM


by Paul Govern

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently issued a scientific statement, “Management of Central Retinal Artery Occlusion.” CRAO is a form of ischemic stroke characterized by acute and painless vision loss in one eye.

Matthew Schrag, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, served as vice-chair of the 10-member expert committee convened by AHA to survey the research literature and write the consensus statement.

“This is a relatively rare and understudied form of stroke,” Schrag said, “and consequently there’s considerable variability when it comes to its medical management. Because it affects the eye, it is easy to miss the cardiovascular implications of this stroke. This consensus statement will, I hope, above all help draw attention to the fact that CRAO warrants emergency medical care and urgent screening for vascular health risks.

“If it’s diagnosed in a doctor’s office or other outpatient clinic, the patient should immediately be sent to a hospital emergency department for further evaluation and treatment by both an ophthalmologist and stroke neurologist.”

The writing committee brought together experts from vascular neurology, neuro-ophthalmology, vitreo-retinal surgery, immunology and endovascular neurosurgery. A number of medical societies have endorsed the AHA statement. For more information, see the statement in the AHA journal Stroke.

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