Theoretical and empirical derivation of cardiovascular allometric relationships in children

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2005 Aug;99(2):445-57. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01144.2004. Epub 2004 Nov 19.


Basic fluid dynamic principles were used to derive a theoretical model of optimum cardiovascular allometry, the relationship between somatic and cardiovascular growth. The validity of the predicted models was then tested against the size of 22 cardiovascular structures measured echocardiographically in 496 normal children aged 1 day to 20 yr, including valves, pulmonary arteries, aorta and aortic branches, pulmonary veins, and left ventricular volume. Body surface area (BSA) was found to be a more important determinant of the size of each of the cardiovascular structures than age, height, or weight alone. The observed vascular and valvar dimensions were in agreement with values predicted from the theoretical models. Vascular and valve diameters related linearly to the square root of BSA, whereas valve and vascular areas related to BSA. The relationship between left ventricular volume and body size fit a complex model predicted by the nonlinear decrease of heart rate with growth. Overall, the relationship between cardiac output and body size is the fundamental driving factor in cardiovascular allometry.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Algorithms*
  • Anthropometry / methods*
  • Biometry / methods
  • Body Size*
  • Cardiovascular System / anatomy & histology*
  • Cardiovascular System / diagnostic imaging*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Computer Simulation
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Regression Analysis