Longitudinal changes of ocular blood flow using laser speckle flowgraphy during normal pregnancy

Takahiro Sato, Junichi Sugawara, Naoko Aizawa, Noriyuki Iwama, Fumiaki Takahashi, Michiyo Nakamura-Kurakata, Masatoshi Saito, Takashi Sugiyama, Hiroshi Kunikata, Toru Nakazawa, Nobuo Yaegashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Innovative laser speckle flowgraphy (LSFG) enables noninvasive evaluation of retinal microcirculation and the usefulness has been reported in the field of ophthalmology. LSFG has allowed us to measure the real time changes of retinal blood flow without pupillary dilatations and contrast media. Herein, we investigated the change of retinal blood flow in normal pregnant women during gestation using LSFG. Methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted in 53 pregnant women who visited our institution between January, 2013 and July, 2014. Finally, a total of 41 participants without any obstetric complications were available for evaluation. Retinal blood flow was measured with LSFG in a total of 4 times during pregnancy (T1. 11-13 weeks, T2. 19-21 weeks, T3. 28-30 weeks, T4. 34-36 weeks) and mean blur rate (MBR), blowout score (BOS), flow acceleration index (FAI), and resistive index (RI) are analyzed from these measurements. Relations between LSFG parameters and mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) are determined throughout pregnancy. Results: MBR showed no significant changes throughout pregnancy. BOS showed a tendency to increase in the 3rd trimester. FAI values showed a slight increase from the 1st to 2nd trimester while a significant decrease was noted in the 3rd trimester. RI exhibited no changes between the 1st and 2nd trimesters, values decreased significantly after the 3rd trimester. MAP was positively correlated with BOS, and negatively correlated with FAI and RI. Conclusion: The present study clearly demonstrated that profiles of LSFG parameters demonstrated a decrease of resistance in retinal blood vessels. These changes in indices provide a highly sensitive reflection of physiological changes in vascular resistance due to pregnancy. Thus, LSFG may be useful, as a non-invasive, diagnostic tool to detect pregnancy related disorders such as preeclampsia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0173127
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 1


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