Predicting risk of cardiovascular disease using retinal OCT imaging

Cynthia Maldonado-Garcia, Rodrigo Bonazzola, Enzo Ferrante, Thomas H Julian, Panagiotis I Sergouniotis, Nishant Ravikumara, Alejandro F Frangi

Research output: Working paperPreprint

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We investigated the potential of optical coherence tomography (OCT) as an additional imaging technique to predict future cardiovascular disease (CVD). We utilised a self-supervised deep learning approach based on Variational Autoencoders (VAE) to learn low-dimensional representations of high-dimensional 3D OCT images and to capture distinct characteristics of different retinal layers within the OCT image. A Random Forest (RF) classifier was subsequently trained using the learned latent features and participant demographic and clinical data, to differentiate between patients at risk of CVD events (MI or stroke) and non-CVD cases. Our predictive model, trained on multimodal data, was assessed based on its ability to correctly identify individuals likely to suffer from a CVD event(MI or stroke), within a 5-year interval after image acquisition. Our self-supervised VAE feature selection and multimodal Random Forest classifier differentiate between patients at risk of future CVD events and the control group with an AUC of 0.75, outperforming the clinically established QRISK3 score (AUC= 0.597). The choroidal layer visible in OCT images was identified as an important predictor of future CVD events using a novel approach to model explanability. Retinal OCT imaging provides a cost-effective and non-invasive alternative to predict the risk of cardiovascular disease and is readily accessible in optometry practices and hospitals.
Original languageUndefined
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2024


  • eess.IV
  • cs.CV
  • cs.LG

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