Purpose: Describe the clinical finding and course of treatment in patients with a sudden decrease in visual function due to an acute occlusion of the arteria centralis retinae. Patients were primarily indicated for selective angiography with thrombolysis of the ophthalmic artery.
Materials and methods: Medical documentation of two patients with acute central retinal artery occlusion with a time duration of up to 5 hours was evaluated retrospectively. The diagnosis of central retinal artery occlusion was determined on the basis of a detailed ophthalmological examination in arteficial mydriasis. The initial best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) were hand movement in front of the eye with uncertain light projection in first patient and no light perception in the second patient. In both cases a relative afferent pupillary defect of the 4th degree was present with the onset of the ischemic macular edema and an incipient development of the cherry red spot. After evaluation of the overall condition, laboratory findings, exclusion of cancer and surgery in the last three months, a selective angiography of ophthalmic artery and thrombolysis in collaboration with the intervention radiologist were performed.
Results: First patient with a better initial visual acuity, selective angiography demonstrated a decrease in flow in the central retinal artery with subsequent improvement in haemodynamic ratios after application of 12 ml of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (Alteplase). The BCVA improved to 1/ 60 after interventional procedure. We did not experience any serious treatment side effects during or after intervention.
In the second patient, selective angiography of the intracranial arteries and internal carotids revealed the presence of an aneurysm before the ophthalmic artery. Due to the normal flow of the contralateral carotid and the filling of the intracranial vessels on the affected side via the circle of Willis, the internal carotid ligation was performed under the aneurysm. Three months after the surgery BCVA was no light perception and patient had no neurological symptomatology.
Conclusion: Selective angiography in combination with thrombolysis appears to be a useful imaging as well as therapeutic method for acute central retinal artery occlusion. This technique allows not only to confirm the diagnosis but it can also solve problem causally and improve the visual acuity of the affected person. Sometimes it also helps to clear the cause of the closure and prevent next potential embolization into the intracranial space and possible fatal consequences of CNS involvement or even death.