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Mohamed Ashraf, Konstantina Sampani, Omar Abu-Qamar, Jerry Cavallerano, Paolo S. Silva, Lloyd Paul Aiello, Jennifer K. Sun; Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography Projection Artifact Removal: Impact on Capillary Density and Interaction with Diabetic Retinopathy Severity. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(7):10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.7.10.
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The purpose of this study was to assess how projection artifact removal (PAR) alters optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) assessment of superficial capillary plexus (SCP) and deep capillary plexus (DCP) in eyes of patients with diabetes.
We acquired 3 × 3 mm scans with RTVue-XR Avanti (Optovue, Inc., Fremont, CA), which were analyzed with PAR software (PAROCTA) and without (non-PAROCTA). SCP, DCP, and full thickness retina vascular density (VD) and vessel linear density (VLD) were manually calculated using ImageJ (version 1.51). Adjusted flow index (AFI) was manually assessed for full thickness images.
Among 323 eyes of 194 patients (no diabetic retinopathy [DR]: 28 eyes; mild nonproliferative DR (NPDR): 96 eyes; moderate: 82 eyes; severe: 32 eyes; and proliferative DR [PDR]: 81 eyes), SCP VD and VLD were lower with PAROCTA than with non-PAROCTA only in eyes with moderate (VD: P = 0.017; VLD: P = 0.046), severe (P = 0.016; P = 0.009), and PDR (P < 0.001; P = 0.002). DCP VD and VLD were higher with PAROCTA as compared to non-PAROCTA only in eyes with no DR (VD and VLD: P < 0.001), mild (VD and VLD: P < 0.001), moderate (VD: P = 0.005; and VLD: P < 0.001), and severe (VD: P = 0.009; VLD: P < 0.001). Full thickness PAROCTA and non-PAROCTA VD and VLD differed only in eyes with no DR where PAROCTA estimates were higher (VD: P = 0.009; VLD: P = 0.02). PAROCTA AFI was lower than non-PAROCTA AFI for all DR severity levels (P < 0.001) except no DR.
Although differential effects of PAROCTA software are expected on SCP versus DCP measurements, these findings also suggest an interaction between PAROCTA and DR severity on assessment of VD. Conclusions from previous studies that have not corrected VD with PAR software should be carefully reviewed with regard to the role of specific vascular layers in DR.
Previous OCTA studies that have not corrected VD with PAR software should be carefully reviewed with regard to the role of individual vascular layers in differing severity levels of DR.
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