The hippocampal-to-ventricle ratio (HVR): Presentation of a manual segmentation protocol and preliminary evidence

Neuroimage. 2019 Dec;203:116108. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.116108. Epub 2019 Aug 28.


Disentangling age-related changes from developmental variations in hippocampal volume has proven challenging. This article presents a manual segmentation protocol for the hippocampal-to-ventricle ratio (HVR), a measure combining the assessment of hippocampal volume with surrounding ventricular volume. By providing in a single measure both a standard volumetric assessment of the hippocampus and an approximation of volume loss, based on ventricular enlargement, we believe the HVR provides a superior cross-sectional estimation of hippocampal structural integrity. In a first attempt to validate this measure, we contrasted the HVR and standard hippocampal volume in their associations with age and memory performance in two independent cohorts of healthy aging individuals. The first cohort consisted in 50 cognitively normal subjects (mean age: 66.8 years, SD: 4.96, range: 60-75 years), while the second cohort included 88 cognitively normal subjects (mean age: 65.06 years, SD: 6.42, range: 55-80 years). We showed that the manual segmentation protocol for the HVR can be implemented with high reliability. In both cohorts, the HVR showed stronger negative associations with age than standard hippocampal volume. Correlations with memory performance were also numerically superior with the HVR than standard hippocampal volume, across the two cohorts. These findings support an added benefit of using the HVR over standard hippocampal volume when examining relationships with age or memory function in aging individuals. Although further validation is required, we propose that the computation of the HVR is a promising method to improve the evaluation of hippocampal integrity from cross-sectional MR images.

Keywords: Aging; Hippocampus; Memory; Structural magnetic resonance imaging; Ventricular enlargement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cerebral Ventricles / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Ventricles / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology
  • Hippocampus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation