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In Ophthalmology science

Purpose : To propose a deep-learning-based method to differentiate arteries from veins in montaged widefield OCT angiography (OCTA).

Design : Cross-sectional study.

Participants : A total of 232 participants, including 109 participants with diabetic retinopathy (DR), 64 participants with branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO), 27 participants with diabetes but without DR, and 32 healthy participants.

Methods : We propose a convolutional neural network (CAVnet) to classify retinal blood vessels on montaged widefield OCTA en face images as arteries and veins. A total of 240 retinal angiograms from 88 eyes were used to train CAVnet, and 302 retinal angiograms from 144 eyes were used for testing. This method takes the OCTA images as input and outputs the segmentation results with arteries and veins down to the level of precapillary arterioles and postcapillary venules. The network also identifies their intersections. We evaluated the agreement (in pixels) between segmentation results and the manually graded ground truth using sensitivity, specificity, F1-score, and Intersection over Union (IoU). Measurements of arterial and venous caliber or tortuosity are made on our algorithm's output of healthy and diseased eyes.

Main Outcome Measures : Classification of arteries and veins, arterial and venous caliber, and arterial and venous tortuosity.

Results : For classification and identification of arteries, the algorithm achieved average sensitivity of 95.3%, specificity of 99.6%, F1 score of 94.2%, and IoU of 89.3%. For veins, the algorithm achieved average sensitivity of 94.4%, specificity of 99.7%, F1 score of 94.1%, and IoU of 89.2%. We also achieved an average sensitivity of 76.3% in identifying intersection points. The results show CAVnet has high accuracy on differentiating arteries and veins in DR and BRVO cases. These classification results are robust across 2 instruments and multiple scan volume sizes. Outputs of CAVnet were used to measure arterial and venous caliber or tortuosity, and pixel-wise caliber and tortuosity maps were generated. Differences between healthy and diseased eyes were demonstrated, indicating potential clinical utility.

Conclusions : The CAVnet can classify arteries and veins and their branches with high accuracy and is potentially useful in the analysis of vessel type-specific features on diseases such as branch retinal artery occlusion and BRVO.

Gao Min, Guo Yukun, Hormel Tristan T, Tsuboi Kotaro, Pacheco George, Poole David, Bailey Steven T, Flaxel Christina J, Huang David, Hwang Thomas S, Jia Yali


BRVO, branch retinal vein occlusion, CAVnet, classification of artery and vein network, CE, cross-entropy, Classification of arteries and veins, DR, diabetic retinopathy, Deep learning, IoU, Intersection over Union, Measurement of their caliber and tortuosity, NPDR, nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, OCTA, OCT angiography, PDR, proliferative diabetic retinopathy