Computer-assisted microaneurysm turnover in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy

Rui Bernardes, Sandrina Nunes, Ivânia Pereira, Teresa Torrent, Andreia Rosa, Dalila Coelho, José Cunha-Vaz
Ophthalmologica. Journal International D'ophtalmologie 2009, 223 (5): 284-91

PURPOSE: To assess the reliability of microaneurysm turnover, computed from color fundus photographs, in evaluating diabetic retinopathy in patients with type 2 diabetes and nonproliferative retinopathy.

METHODS: A new method (MA-Tracker) was developed to count microaneurysms by mapping their locations through image co-registration. To compute the reliability of microaneurysm turnover, 3 different graders were asked to earmark microaneurysms on the same set of color fundus photographs.

RESULTS: The total numbers of microaneurysms earmarked in each of 5 visits suggest that microaneurysms remain stable over time (p >or= 0.138). However, an analysis of each microaneurysm showed that only 29.4% remained at the same location. By computing the formation and disappearance rates of microaneurysms (2.3 and 1.7 microaneurysms/year, respectively), a significant turnover of microaneurysms was found.

CONCLUSIONS: The formation and disappearance rates of microaneurysms obtained from color fundus photographs using MA-Tracker show very good agreement between different graders, and can be used as indicators of microaneurysm turnover in the initial stages of diabetic retinopathy.

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