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November 1990

Ventricular Enlargement in Schizophrenia Evaluated With Computed Tomographic Scanning: Effects of Gender, Age, and Stage of Illness

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City (Drs Andreasen, Swayze, Flaum, Yates, and Arndt) and Appleton (Wis) Center (Dr McChesney).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990;47(11):1008-1015. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1990.01810230024005

• We evaluated ventricular-brain ratio with computed tomographic scanning in a sample of 108 DSM-III—diagnosed schizophrenic patients and 75 healthy normal volunteers. Significant differences were noted between the patients and controls, but our large sample size also permitted us to determine that the statistically significant difference was contributed primarily through the male patients. Ventricular enlargement occurs only in some schizophrenic patients. In this particular sample, only 6% of schizophrenics had ventricular-brain ratios greater than 2 SDs from the control mean, and 28% were 1 SD greater than the control mean. However, the corresponding figures for male schizophrenics were 19% and 43%, indicating that there is much less overlap between normal individuals and ill subjects in the male population. First-admission schizophrenic patients also had significantly greater ventricular enlargement than did their age-equivalent normal controls, suggesting that ventricular enlargement in schizophrenia may antedate the onset of symptoms. Examination of ventricular size in schizophrenics and normal subjects from a broad age range suggests that ventricular enlargement does not progress over time at a greater rate in schizophrenic patients than in normal subjects.

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