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Critical Care

Open Access

BrainView: a software designed for quantifying brain volume, weight and density

  • T Lescot1,
  • C Fetita3,
  • A Zouaoui2,
  • J-C Muller1,
  • P Coriat1,
  • F Préteux3 and
  • L Puybasset1
Critical Care20037(Suppl 2):P090

Published: 3 March 2003


Human TissueRegional EffectAnatomical LandmarkBrain VolumeIntracranial Hypertension


Because radiological densities are linearly correlated with the physical densities in human tissue, the use of CT gives the opportunity to measure in vivo the volume, weight and density of the brain. BrainView is a software specially designed to compute these parameters.


DICOM images obtained from the cerebral CT (high-speed advantage CT scan; GE medical system, USA) performed for headache assessment in 10 patients (43 ± 18 years, mean ± SD) were analyzed. Each exam, acquired as 5-mm-thickness contiguous slices, was considered as normal by the neuro-radiologist (AZ). As a first step, BrainView automatically excluded extracranial compartments on each CT section by means of a mathematical morphology-based algorithm. One single physician (TL) then delineated on each section the two hemispheres, the cerebellum, the brainstem and the intraventricular and subarach-noid cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) according to anatomical landmarks. The volume of each anatomical compartment was computed as the number of voxels included in this compartment times the volume of the voxel. The weight of each voxel was computed as its volume times its density knowing that the physical density of a voxel having a radiological density of 0 HU (i.e. water) is 1 g/ml. The weight of each compartment was computed by summing the weights of all voxels composing it.


See Table 1.
Table 1

Volume, weight and physical density of each compartment (mean ± SD)


Right hemisphere

Left hemisphere




Total intracranial

Volume (ml)

517 ± 64

517 ± 61

130 ± 60

143 ± 19

25 ± 5

1348 ± 150

Weight (g)

534 ± 66

534 ± 64

132 ± 61

149 ± 20

26 ± 6

1392 ± 155

Density (g/ml)

1.0334 ± 0.0012

1.0332 ± 0.0011

1.0209 ± 0.0012

1.0377 ± 0.0014

1.0278 ± 0.0016

1.0325 ± 0.0014


BrainView is a tool providing the measurements in vivo of volume, weight and density of the human brain. It gives new opportunities to assess the global and regional effects of anti-edematous treatment as well as the permeability of the brain-blood barrier in patients with intracranial hypertension.

Authors’ Affiliations

Anesthesiology Department, La Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France
Neuroradiology Department, La Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France
ARTEMIS Project Unit, Institut National des Télécommunications, Evry, France


© BioMed Central Ltd 2003