Purpose: The aim of this project was to establish a database of left and right ventricular and left atrial dimensions in healthy volunteers using steady-state free precession cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, the clinical technique of choice, across a wide age range.
Methods: 108 healthy volunteers (63 male, 45 female) underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging using steady-state free precession sequences. Manual analysis was performed by 2 experienced observers.
Results: Left and right ventricular volumes and left ventricular mass were larger in males than females: LV end-diastolic volume 160 +/- 29 mL vs. 135 +/- 26 mL, LV end-systolic volume 50 +/- 16 mL vs. 42 +/- 12 mL; RV end-diastolic volume 190 +/- 33 mL vs. 148 +/- 35 mL, RV end-systolic volume 78 +/- 20 mL vs. 56 +/- 18 mL (p < .05 for all). Normalization of values to body surface area removed the statistical differences for LV volumes, but not for LV mass or RV volumes. With increased age, males showed a significant decrease in volume and mass indices for both ventricles, while female values remained unchanged. Compared to females, males had significantly larger maximal left atrial volumes (103 +/- 30 mL vs. 89 +/- 21 mL, p = .01) and left atrial stroke volumes (58 +/- 23 mL vs. 48 +/- 15 mL, p = .01). There was no difference in left atrial ejection fraction between the sexes.
Conclusion: We have produced a large database of age-related normal ranges for left and right ventricular function and left atrial function in males and females. This will allow accurate interpretation of clinical and research datasets.