Objectives: To validate a retinal imaging software named VAMPIRE® (Vascular Assay and Measurement Platform for Images of the Retina) in feline patients and test the clinical utility in hypertensive cats.
Animals Studied: One hundred and five healthy cats were enrolled. They represented the normal dataset used in the validation (group 1). Forty-three hypertensive cats with no noticeable retinal abnormalities were enrolled for the clinical validity of the software (group 2).
Procedures: Eleven points (4 veins, 4 arteries, and 3 arterial bifurcations) were measured for each digital image. Repeatability and reproducibility of measurements were assessed using two independent operators. Data were statistically analyzed by the Mann-Whiney and Tukey box plot. Significance was considered when P < 0.05.
Results: Two hundred and ten retinal images were analyzed for a total of 2310 measurements. Total mean was 9.1 and 6.1 pixels for veins and arteries, respectively. First, second, and third arteriolar bifurcations angles were 73.6°, 76.9°, and 85.4°, respectively. A comparison between groups 1 and 2 showed a statistically significant reduction in arteriolar diameter (mean 3.3 pixels) and branch angle (55°, 47.8° and 59.9°) associated with increasing vein diameter (mean 24.15 pixels).
Conclusions: Current image analysis techniques used in human medicine were investigated in terms of extending their use to veterinary medicine. The VAMPIRE® algorithm proved useful for an objective diagnosis of retinal vasculature changes secondary to systemic hypertension in cats, and could be an additional diagnostic test for feline systemic hypertension.
- image analysis algorithms
- retinal photography
- software validation
- systemic hypertension