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Min Gao, Tristan T. Hormel, Jie Wang, Yukun Guo, Steven T. Bailey, Thomas S. Hwang, Yali Jia; An Open-Source Deep Learning Network for Reconstruction of High-Resolution OCT Angiograms of Retinal Intermediate and Deep Capillary Plexuses. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(13):13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.13.13.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
We propose a deep learning–based image reconstruction algorithm to produce high-resolution optical coherence tomographic angiograms (OCTA) of the intermediate capillary plexus (ICP) and deep capillary plexus (DCP).
In this study, 6-mm × 6-mm macular scans with a 400 × 400 A-line sampling density and 3-mm × 3-mm scans with a 304 × 304 A-line sampling density were acquired on one or both eyes of 180 participants (including 230 eyes with diabetic retinopathy and 44 healthy controls) using a 70-kHz commercial OCT system (RTVue-XR; Optovue, Inc., Fremont, California, USA). Projection-resolved OCTA algorithm removed projection artifacts in voxel. ICP and DCP angiograms were generated by maximum projection of the OCTA signal within the respective plexus. We proposed a deep learning–based method, which receives inputs from registered 3-mm × 3-mm ICP and DCP angiograms with proper sampling density as the ground truth reference to reconstruct 6-mm × 6-mm high-resolution ICP and DCP en face OCTA. We applied the same network on 3-mm × 3-mm angiograms to enhance these images further. We evaluated the reconstructed 3-mm × 3-mm and 6-mm × 6-mm angiograms based on vascular connectivity, Weber contrast, false flow signal (flow signal erroneously generated from background), and the noise intensity in the foveal avascular zone.
Compared to the originals, the Deep Capillary Angiogram Reconstruction Network (DCARnet)–enhanced 6-mm × 6-mm angiograms had significantly reduced noise intensity (ICP, 7.38 ± 25.22, P < 0.001; DCP, 11.20 ± 22.52, P < 0.001), improved vascular connectivity (ICP, 0.95 ± 0.01, P < 0.001; DCP, 0.96 ± 0.01, P < 0.001), and enhanced Weber contrast (ICP, 4.25 ± 0.10, P < 0.001; DCP, 3.84 ± 0.84, P < 0.001), without generating false flow signal when noise intensity lower than 650. The DCARnet-enhanced 3-mm × 3-mm angiograms also reduced noise, improved connectivity, and enhanced Weber contrast in 3-mm × 3-mm ICP and DCP angiograms from 101 eyes. In addition, DCARnet preserved the appearance of the dilated vessels in the reconstructed angiograms in diabetic eyes.
DCARnet can enhance 3-mm × 3-mm and 6-mm × 6-mm ICP and DCP angiogram image quality without introducing artifacts.
The enhanced 6-mm × 6-mm angiograms may be easier for clinicians to interpret qualitatively.
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