The accurate and timely monitoring of hypertension-related diseases is important for a population screening and follow up, to prevent the onset and to assure proper treatment. The evaluation of morphological characteristics of small resistance arteries in human beings in not easy. The gold standard is generally considered the evaluation of the media to lumen ratio of subcutaneous small vessels obtained by local biopsies and measured by wire or pressure micromyography. However, non-invasive techniques for evaluation of retinal arterioles were proposed, in particular two approaches seem to provide interesting information: scanning laser Doppler flowmetry and adaptive optics; both of them provide an estimation of the wall to lumen ratio (WLR) of retinal arterioles.
The Laboratory is involved in the assessment of the efficiency and efficacy of a recently developed non invasive diagnostic instrument, able to provide high-quality images of the retina, by means of adaptive optics. In collaboration with the Chair of Internal Medicine of the University (Prof. D. Rizzoni), the instrument and its software are tested for accuracy and repeatability on artificial vessel models, and on a database of subjects.
Based on the data collected so far, the instrument performs in a quite satisfactory way as compared to the previously used techniques.
Optolab primary investigator: Prof. Franco Docchio