Impact of combined hormonal contraceptives on vessels functionality

Alessandro Rabiolo, Federico Corvi, Davide Monteduro, Lucia Benatti, Maria Vittoria Cicinelli, Giovanni Fogliato, Giuseppe Querques, Francesco Bandello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate the dynamic and static retinal vascular functionality in young females using combined hormonal contraceptive (CHC). Methods: Thirty-eight consecutive young female subjects were enrolled in this study between January 2015 and December 2015. Subjects were divided in two groups: CHC group, defined as CHC use for ≥6 months, and control group, defined as no current and prior CHC use. Participants underwent a dynamic and static retinal vessel analysis using the Dynamic Vessel Analyzer (DVA, Imedos, Jena, Germany). Results: Seventeen subjects continuously took CHC for 54.6 ± 29.3 months, while 21 subjects belonged to control group. No difference was found between the CHC and control groups for age (p = 0.1), smoking status (p = 0.6), and systolic (p = 0.3) and diastolic (p = 0.1) blood pressure. With regard to dynamic analysis, women taking CHC exhibited a marked significant vasoconstriction following flicker stimulation in comparison with control group (−2.43 ± 2.5 vs 0.63 ± 2.1, respectively; p = 0.0002). No significant difference was observed between groups for mean arterial (p = 0.2) and venous dilatations (p = 0.3), arteriovenous ratio (p = 0.09), central retinal artery equivalent (p = 0.4), and central retinal venous equivalent (p = 0.5). Conclusions: CHC may affect vessel reactivity to flicker light by increasing arteries constriction. This may reflect systemic changes in vascular functionality in subjects using CHC. Moreover, CHC should be considered as a confounding bias in studies involving DVA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Aug 8 2016


  • Combined hormonal contraceptive
  • Dynamic vessel analyzer
  • Flicker light
  • Oral contraceptive pill
  • Retinal vessel analysis
  • Static vessel analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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