Differentiating Veins From Arteries on Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography by Identifying Deep Capillary Plexus Vortices

Xiaoyu Xu, Nicolas A. Yannuzzi, Pedro Fernández-Avellaneda, Jose J. Echegaray, Kimberly D. Tran, Jonathan F. Russell, Nimesh A. Patel, Rehan M. Hussain, David Sarraf, K. Bailey Freund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: To introduce a simple method for differentiating retinal veins from arteries on optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA). Design: Cross-sectional pilot study. Methods: Four default en face slabs including color depth encoded, grayscale full-thickness retina, superficial plexus, and deep capillary plexus (DCP) from nine 3×3-mm and nine 6×6-mm OCTA scans were exported and aligned. Nine ophthalmologists with minimum OCTA experience from 2 eye institutions were instructed to classify labeled vessels as arteries or veins in 3 stages. Classification was performed based on graders' own assessment at stage 1. Graders were taught that a capillary-free zone was an anatomic feature of arteries at stage 2 and were trained to identify veins originating from vortices within the DCP at stage 3. Grading accuracy was analyzed and correlated with grading time and graders' years in practice. Results: Overall grading accuracy in stages 1, 2, and 3 was (50.4% ± 17.0%), (75.4% ± 6.0%), and (94.7% ± 2.6%), respectively. Grading accuracy for 3×3-mm scans in stages 1, 2, and 3 was (49.9% ± 16.3%), (79.2% ± 9.6%), and (96.9% ± 3.1%), respectively. Accuracy for 6×6-mm scans in stages 1, 2, and 3 was (51.4% ± 20.8%), (72.3% ± 7.9%), and (93.2% ± 3.3%), respectively. Grading performance improved significantly at each stage (all P < .001). No significant correlation was found between accuracy and time spent grading or between accuracy and years in practice (r = –0.164 to 0.617, all P ≥ .077). Conclusions: We describe a simple method for accurately distinguishing retinal arteries from veins on OCTA, which incorporates the use of vortices in the DCP to identify venous origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-372
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of ophthalmology
StatePublished - Nov 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


Dive into the research topics of 'Differentiating Veins From Arteries on Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography by Identifying Deep Capillary Plexus Vortices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this