Asymmetry of retinal arteriolar branch widths at junctions affects ability of formulae to predict trunk arteriolar widths

Niall Patton, Tariq Aslam, Tom MacGillivray, Baljean Dhillon, Ian Constable

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    PURPOSE. To describe a revised formula for the estimation of retinal trunk arteriole widths from their respective arteriolar branch widths that improves the summarizing of retinal arteriolar diameters. METHODS. A group of young, healthy individuals underwent retinal photography and arteriolar and venular branching points were identified. Vessel widths of the vessel trunks and their branches were determined. The relationship between the branching coefficient (BC; quotient of the area of the branch and trunk vessels) and the asymmetry index (AI) of the vessel branches was explored. The result was used to formulate a new BC. To test the new BC, a second group of young, healthy individuals also underwent retinal photography. Arteriolar branching points were identified, and the trunk and branch arteriolar widths were recorded. This "revised" BC was compared against the gold standard of the BC as a constant value (1.28), as well as a theoretical formula for the BC that includes the angle between the two vessel branches. RESULTS. The BC of arterioles (but not venules) related to the AI (R = 0.275, P = 0.0001; BC arterioles = 0.78 ± 0.63·AI). In the second group, the mean arteriolar trunk diameter was 15.56 pixels. The linear regression model for the arteriolar BC was superior to the BC constant of 1.28 (mean difference between estimated and calculated trunk vessel width was 2.16 vs. 2.23 pixels, respectively). The model based on the angle between the branch arterioles was the least accurate (3.43 pixels). CONCLUSIONS. A revised formula has been devised for the arteriolar BC using a linear regression model that incorporates its relationship to the AI. Further studies using this refined formula to calculate the BC are needed to determine whether it improves the ability to detect smaller associations between the retinal vascular network and cardiovascular disease. Copyright © Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1329-1333
    Number of pages4
    JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


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