Stroke-related visual impairment and atrial fibrillation are both common following stroke. This study explores whether presence of visual impairment following stroke is associated with presence of atrial fibrillation (AF).
The Impact of Visual Impairment after Stroke (IVIS) study is a multi-centre, acute stroke unit, prospective epidemiology study. Standardised visual assessments included visual acuity, reading, visual fields, eye movements and visual perception. AF and blood pressure (BP) were measured on admission. Further data capture included stroke type, age, gender, stroke severity. Analysis included descriptive statistics, independent samples analysis and multivariate analysis for comparison of AF and visual impairment against covariates.
1500 stroke admissions were recruited of which 1204 stroke survivors had visual assessment. New onset stroke-related visual impairment (n = 703) was significantly associated with older age and stoke severity. AF and BP data were available for 889 stroke survivors. AF was present on admission for 258 stroke survivors and significantly associated with older age, stroke severity and discharge destination. A significant association was found for presence of AF and presence of visual impairment. However, stroke severity was a contributing factor for this association. High systolic BP (>140 mmHg) was present in 62% and high diastolic BP (>90 mmHg) in 29%, but not associated with presence of visual impairment.
AF and visual impairment, independently, occur commonly in stroke. Although our results show an association between AF and visual impairment, this appears to be independently influenced by stroke severity. AF was not associated with type of visual impairment or extent of visual recovery. It remains unknown if AF causes more severe visual impairment.
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Published online: August 23, 2020
Accepted: July 19, 2020
Received in revised form: July 14, 2020
Received: June 25, 2020
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