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Motivated by the goals of automatically extracting vessel segments and constructing retinal vascular trees with anatomical realism, this paper presents and analyses an algorithm that combines vessel segmentation and grouping of the extracted vessel segments. The proposed method aims to restore the topology of the vascular trees with anatomical realism for clinical studies and diagnosis of retinal vascular diseases, which manifest abnormalities in either venous and/or arterial vascular systems. Vessel segments are grouped using extended Kalman filter which takes into account continuities in curvature, width, and intensity changes at the bifurcation or crossover point. At a junction, the proposed method applies the minimum-cost matching algorithm to resolve the conflict in grouping due to error in tracing. The system was trained with 20 images from the DRIVE dataset, and tested using the remaining 20 images. The dataset contained a mixture of normal and pathological images. In addition, six pathological fluorescein angiogram sequences were also included in this study. The results were compared against the groundtruth images provided by a physician, achieving average success rates of 88.79% and 90.09%, respectively.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2012