A 26-yr-old man with sickle cell trait (SCT) suddenly lost visual acuity in the left eye after a cycling race in hot tropical environment. The cause was massive central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) with hemorrhaging that rapidly worsened to neovascular glaucoma. Although medically treated, the eye is now marked by total retinal detachment. Cardiovascular function assessment shows no electrocardiographic abnormalities, no anomaly in the supra-aortic tree, and no evidence of structural heart disease. Although normal coagulation markers values (i.e., activated partial thromboplastin time, prothrombin time, fibrinogen concentration, antithrombin III, factor V, proteins C and S) were observed 2.5 months after the clinical event, a transesophageal echocardiogram performed few hours after the incident revealed the presence of four thrombi in the left atrium suggesting a postexercise hypercoagulable state at that time. Hemorheological measurements at distance of the events demonstrated high red blood cell rigidity at baseline. Therefore, marked blood rheological impairment and activation of the coagulation pathway in response to the heavy and prolonged cycling race could have promoted CRVO in this cyclist carrying SCT. These data suggest that SCT could be considered as a risk factor for significant ocular complications when severe exercise is performed and support the idea that SCT is a contributing factor in blood rheology and vascular dysfunctions.
1Laboratory ACTES UPRES-EA 3596, Department of Physiology, University of the French West Indies, Campus of Fouillole, Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, FRANCE; 2Department of Cardiology, Academic Hospital, Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, FRANCE; 3Inserm U763, University of the French West Indies, Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, FRANCE; 4Department of Ophthalmology, Academic Hospital, Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, FRANCE; and 5Carribean Sickle Cell Center, Academic Hospital, Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, FRANCE
Address for correspondence: Philippe Connes, Ph.D., Laboratory ACTES UPRES-EA 3596, Department of Physiology, University of the French West Indies, Campus of Fouillole, Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted for publication January 2008.
Accepted for publication June 2008.