The paper entitled "An image analysis framework for the early assessment of hypertensive retinopathy signs", presented by Dr. Vangelis Sakkalis, researcher at the Institute of Computer Science (ICS) of the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH), received the Best Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference on e-Health and Bioengineering 2011 (EHB 2011, Iasi, Romania, 24-26 November 2011).
The research results presented in the paper have been achieved in the context of a collaborative effort between ICS-FORTH and the Hippokration Hospital of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, focusing on innovative methods and tools for retinal vessel detection and measurement of the vessel diameter. The proposed method employs an image segmentation algorithm, along with pre-processing and skeletonization techniques, in order to extract an accurate representation of vessels on the retina. All the functionalities are encapsulated in an Integrated Graphical User Interface, which assists the medical professional to perform measurements in an ergonomic fashion and apply statistical measurements according to medical protocols, or targeted measurements at any selected region of interest. In addition, the system provides methods for editing the vessel representation in order to recover from possible segmentation misclassifications. The above steps are integrated into a clinical application capable of supporting vascular risk stratification in persons with hypertension that is currently clinically tested at the Hippokration Hospital at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
The research team members were: Georgios C. Manikis, Vangelis Sakkalis, and Kostas Marias (Computational Medicine Lab of ICS-FORTH), Xenophon Zabulis and Polykarpos Karamaounas (Computational Vision and Robotics Laboratory of ICS-FORTH) and Areti Triantafyllou, Stella Douma and Chrysanthos Zamboulis from the Hypertension Unit of the 2nd Propaedeutic Department of Internal Medicine of the Hippokration Hospital (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki).