Tortuosity of arterioles and venules in quantifying plus disease

Suzanne C. Johnston, David K. Wallace, Sharon F. Freedman, Tammy L. Yanovitch, Zheen Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Background: Plus disease is the major criterion for laser treatment of retinopathy of prematurity. ROPtool is a computer program that traces retinal blood vessels and measures their tortuosity. Our objectives were to determine (1) whether examiners could accurately discriminate between arterioles and venules and (2) whether tortuosity sufficient for plus disease and pre-plus disease was assessed most accurately by considering arterioles, venules, or both. Methods: One hundred retinal vessels were identified in 25 images randomly selected from 184 total images. Three pediatric ophthalmologists independently designated vessels as arteriole or venule. Seventy-seven images that had at least 1 traceable arteriole and venule in each quadrant were analyzed by ROPtool, and the results were compared with the consensus of 3 expert examiners. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves were generated and areas under the curves calculated to quantify the diagnostic utility of ROPtool's assessment of tortuosity of arterioles, venules, and both. Results: Three pediatric ophthalmologists agreed on the designation of arteriole or venule for 83 of 100 blood vessels. With the use of expert consensus as the reference standard, areas under the ROC curves for identification of tortuosity sufficient for plus disease were 0.91, 0.70, and 0.93 for arterioles, venules, and both, respectively. Areas under the ROC curves for identification of tortuosity sufficient for pre-plus disease were 0.91, 0.63, and 0.90 for arterioles, venules, and both, respectively. Conclusions: When considering whether tortuosity is sufficient for plus or pre-plus disease, the assessment of either arterioles alone or of arterioles and venules together resulted in high diagnostic accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-185
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of AAPOS
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology

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