Intracranial compartment volumes in patients with enlarged ventricles assessed by magnetic resonance-based image processing

J Neurosurg. 1996 Jun;84(6):972-81. doi: 10.3171/jns.1996.84.6.0972.


Magnetic resonance image-based computerized segmentation was used to measure the volumes of the brain, gray and white matter components, and to identify regions with prolonged enhancement on T2-weighted imaging, such as periventricular or deep white matter hyperintensities. The authors also determined the volumes of the ventricles and subarachnoid space in control subjects and in patients with: 1) aqueductal stenosis (AS); 2) other causes of obstructive hydrocephalus (OH); 3) Alzheimer's disease (AD); and 4) normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). In AS the volume of the brain was smaller, whereas that of ventricles and subarachnoid cerebrospinal fluid space was larger than that of controls. The decrease in brain volume was due primarily to white matter loss. Although in OH the ventricles were larger, the subarachnoid space was smaller than in controls, presumably due to encroachment by the brain, in which the volume remained unchanged. In AD, loss of both gray and white matter resulted in a smaller brain volume, whereas that of ventricles and subarachnoid space was larger than in controls. In NPH patients, only ventricular volume was greater, whereas all other compartments were similar to controls. The brain normally occupies 87% to 92% of the intracranial volume and consequently, as observed in our patients, relatively small decrements in brain size lead to large increments in ventricular and/or extraventricular volumes. The magnitude of such changes differed markedly among our patient groups, and whether such changes prove useful in clinical assessment and differentiation needs to be determined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / pathology*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged