Normal percentile growth charts for head circumference, length, and weight are well-established tools for clinicians to detect abnormal growth patterns. Currently, no standard exists for evaluating normal size or growth of cerebral ventricular volume. The current standard practice relies on clinical experience for a subjective assessment of cerebral ventricular size to determine whether a patient is outside the normal volume range. An improved definition of normal ventricular volumes would facilitate a more data-driven diagnostic process. The authors sought to develop a growth curve of cerebral ventricular volumes using a large number of normal pediatric brain MR images.
The authors performed a retrospective analysis of patients aged 0 to 18 years, who were evaluated at their institution between 2009 and 2016 with brain MRI performed for headaches, convulsions, or head injury. Patients were excluded for diagnoses of hydrocephalus, congenital brain malformations, intracranial hemorrhage, meningitis, or intracranial mass lesions established at any time during a 3- to 10-year follow-up. The volume of the cerebral ventricles for each T2-weighted MRI sequence was calculated with a custom semiautomated segmentation program written in MATLAB. Normal percentile curves were calculated using the lambda-mu-sigma smoothing method.
Ventricular volume was calculated for 687 normal brain MR images obtained in 617 different patients. A chart with standardized growth curves was developed from this set of normal ventricular volumes representing the 5th, 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th, and 95th percentiles. The charted data were binned by age at scan date by 3-month intervals for ages 0–1 year, 6-month intervals for ages 1–3 years, and 12-month intervals for ages 3–18 years. Additional percentile values were calculated for boys only and girls only.
The authors developed centile estimation growth charts of normal 3D ventricular volumes measured on brain MRI for pediatric patients. These charts may serve as a quantitative clinical reference to help discern normal variance from pathologic ventriculomegaly.