Prevalence of Atrial Fibrillation in Patients with Retinal Vessel Occlusion and Its Association: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Objective: Recent studies have shown that atrial fibrillation (AF) is more prevalent in patients with retinal vessel occlusion and may be associated with both central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) and central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO). However, there is no systematic review and meta-analysis to confirm this finding.

Methods: We searched the databases of MEDLINE and EMBASE from inception to January 2019. Included studies were published cohort, case-control or cross-sectional studies, and randomized control trials reporting the prevalence of AF in patients with CRAO or CRVO. Data from each study were combined using the random-effects model.

Results: Eleven studies were included in our meta-analysis, involving a total population of 12,305 subjects with retinal vessel occlusion. The prevalence of AF ranged from 4.1% to 21.4% (pooled prevalence = 11.5%, 95% CI: 7.0–16.1, I2 = 96.3%). Five studies reported a control group of patients without retinal vessel occlusion. We found that AF is significantly associated with retinal vessel occlusion (pooled OR = 2.24, 95% CI:2.07–2.43, I2 = 0.0%).

Conclusion: Our study showed that AF is significantly associated with retinal vessel occlusion. Further studies are needed to fully elucidate the exact mechanism linking AF with CRAO and CRVO.