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Farzan Abdolahi, Xiao Zhou, Bright S. Ashimatey, Zhongdi Chu, Xuejuan Jiang, Ruikang K. Wang, Amir H. Kashani; Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography–Derived Flux As a Measure of Physiological Changes in Retinal Capillary Blood Flow. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(9):5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.9.5.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To compare optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA)–derived flux with conventional OCTA measures of retinal vascular density in assessment of physiological changes in retinal blood flow.
Healthy subjects were recruited, and 3 × 3-mm2 fovea-centered scans were acquired using commercially available swept-source OCTA (SS-OCTA) while participants were breathing room air, 100% O2, or 5% CO2. Retinal perfusion was quantified using vessel area density (VAD) and vessel skeleton density (VSD), as well as novel measures of retinal perfusion, vessel area flux (VAF) and vessel skeleton flux (VSF). Flux is proportional to the number of red blood cells moving through a vessel segment per unit time. The percentage change in each measure was compared between the O2 and CO2 gas conditions for images of all vessels (arterioles, venules, and capillaries) and capillary-only images. Statistical significance was determined using paired t-tests and a linear mixed-effects model.
Eighty-four OCTA scans from 29 subjects were included (age, 45.9 ± 19.5 years; 14 male, 48.3%). In capillary-only images, the change under the CO2 condition was 168% greater in VAF than in VAD (P = 0.002) and 124% greater in VSF than in VSD (P = 0.004). Similarly, under the O2 condition, the change was 94% greater in VAF than in VAD (P = 0.004) and 57% greater in VSF than in VSD (P = 0.01). Flux measures showed significantly greater change in capillary-only images compared with all-vessels images.
OCTA-derived flux measures quantify physiological changes in retinal blood flow at the capillary level with a greater effect size than conventional vessel density measures.
OCTA-derived flux is a useful measure of subclinical changes in retinal capillary perfusion.
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