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The correlation between ventricular diameter measured by transcranial sonography and clinical disability and cognitive dysfunction in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Archives of Neurology 2000 September
CONTEXT: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data suggest that the extent of brain atrophy in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is related to the severity of disease.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether ventricular diameter determined by transcranial sonography (TCS) is a marker of brain atrophy and is correlated with disability, cognitive performance, and mood.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We examined 74 subjects with MS and 74 age- and sex-matched control subjects with TCS and assessed the transverse diameter of the third ventricle and the frontal horns of the lateral ventricles. Quantitative neurological examination was performed in subjects with MS using the Expanded Disability Status Scale. All subjects with MS underwent MRI, the Brief Repeatable Battery of Neuropsychological Tests for MS, and standardized tests for mood disorders.

RESULTS: Transcranial sonographic measurements of ventricular diameter closely matched MRI measurements (Spearman rank correlation, r=0.7-0.9; P<.01). The ventricular diameters were significantly larger in subjects with MS than in healthy age- and sex-matched control subjects. The measurement of the diameter of the third ventricle obtained by TCS or MRI and the measurement of disability obtained with the Expanded Disability Status Scale were significantly correlated (Spearman rank correlation, r = 0.4; P<.01). The correlation between the diameter of the frontal horns and disability was substantially lower for both neuroimaging techniques. In addition, TCS and MRI data correlated significantly with the majority of neuropsychological tests; no correlation was found between the diameter of the ventricles and depression scales.

CONCLUSION: As ventricular diameter is related to the status of disability and may also indicate disease progression, we propose measurement of the diameter of the third ventricle with TCS as a quick and easy surrogate marker for serial follow-up examinations in patients with MS.

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