Issue: July 2015
May 20, 2015
2 min read

Retinopathy common in pregnant Hispanic women with pre-existing diabetes

Issue: July 2015
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The rate of diabetic retinopathy is significantly higher in pregnant Hispanic women than in non-Hispanic women with type 2 or gestational diabetes, according to study findings presented here.

In a retrospective, cross-sectional study, researchers found that most pregnant Hispanic women with type 1 diabetes had various degrees of retinopathy, and that those with retinopathy and either type 1 or type 2 diabetes had significantly higher HbA1c levels and a longer average disease duration compared with those without retinopathy.

“Retinopathy is a common finding in pregnant Hispanic women with pre-existing diabetes mellitus, and it is also observed in 3.6% of these patients with gestational diabetes mellitus,” Soe Naing, MD, MRCP, FACE, director of the division of endocrinology and medical director of the Community Diabetes Care Center at University of California, San Francisco, told Endocrine Today.

Naing, Christopher Russo, DO, of the UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program, and colleagues analyzed data from 674 pregnant Hispanic women with either pre-existing diabetes or gestational diabetes who visited a community diabetes care center from 2006 to 2011. During the same period, 206 non-Hispanic pregnant women also had retinal examinations. Researchers compared retinal examination data, taken with a digital fundus camera, as well as age, disease duration, HbA1c levels and gestational age data from patients in both groups.

In the cohort of pregnant Hispanic women, 52.6% of participants with type 1 diabetes had varying degrees of retinopathy, whereas 25.06% of those with type 2 diabetes and 3.59% of those with gestational diabetes also had the eye disease, which causes changes in the blood vessels of the retina.

In those with type 2 diabetes, the rate of diabetic retinopathy was higher in Hispanic women compared with non-Hispanic women (25.07% vs. 10%; P = .0012). There were no cases of non-Hispanic women with gestational diabetes and diabetic retinopathy.

Future studies are needed to determine whether screening for diabetic retinopathy is beneficial in pregnant Hispanic women with gestational diabetes, according to researchers.

“Routine retinal examination should be an integral and important part of diabetes care in pregnant Hispanic women with pre-existing diabetes,” Naing said. “However, currently it is not known if screening for diabetic retinopathy is beneficial in pregnant Hispanic women with [gestational diabetes].” - by Regina Schaffer

Reference :

Russo C, et al. Abstract 242. Presented at: AACE 24th Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress; May 13-17, 2015; Nashville, Tenn.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.