Right atrial MR imaging studies of cadaveric atrial casts and comparison with right and left atrial volumes and function in healthy subjects

Radiology. 1994 Apr;191(1):137-42. doi: 10.1148/radiology.191.1.8134560.


Purpose: To assess magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the right atrium by measuring volumes of right atrial casts and determining right atrial volume cycles in healthy subjects.

Materials and methods: Fourteen human cadaveric atrial casts were imaged and right atrial volumes of eight subjects were measured with cardiac-gated cine MR. Volumes were calculated and right and left atrial volumes were compared.

Results: Measured volumes of right atrial casts correlated well (r = .99, P < .001) with true volumes with a small underestimation noted (-7.2 mL +/- 2.3 [standard deviation], P < .001). The maximum in vivo right atrial volume averaged 77 mL/m2 +/- 11 of body area. The right atrial reservoir and conduit functions accounted for, on average, 58% and 19%, respectively, of the ventricular stroke volume; the remaining 23% came from atrial contraction. Right-to-left peak volume ratio averaged 1.41 +/- 0.15 (P < .001), and all volume measurements except conduit volumes were statistically significantly larger in the right atrium than the left.

Conclusions: MR imaging provides a reliable means to study right atrial volumes and phasic function.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atrial Function*
  • Cardiac Volume*
  • Heart Atria / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results