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J Am Coll Cardiol. 1988 Dec;12(6):1432-41.

Limits of normal left ventricular dimensions in growth and development: analysis of dimensions and variance in the two-dimensional echocardiograms of 268 normal healthy subjects.

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Cardiac Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114.


The majority of studies generating normal echocardiographic reference values for left ventricular dimensions have been based on blindly performed M-mode measurements, and there are no previous reports based on two-dimensional echocardiography that provide a comprehensive analysis of the two-dimensional measurements from infancy to old age. This report presents the results of analyzing the left ventricular internal dimensions from cross-sectional echocardiographic studies on 268 normal healthy subjects (none were hospitalized for any reason) whose ages ranged from 6 days to 76 years. The mean data are reported as functions of body surface area and, in addition, the variance is modeled as a function of body surface area to provide an accurate and clinically useful determination of normal limits and to model changes in the cardiac dimensions and in their variance representing normal growth and development. The data fit well to the exponential growth model (r values 0.85 to 0.95). Variance about the central values also depended significantly on body size; that relation is represented effectively by a quadratic function of body surface area (r values 0.82 to 0.98). The model parameters allow calculation of normal limits at any desired level of confidence. Areas determined by hand planimetry have significantly greater variance compared with variance of linear dimensions, and also compared with variance of cross-sectional area using ellipses generated from the anteroposterior and mediolateral dimensions. This implies that either biologic variations in the amount of infolding or errors in freehand planimetry constitute a significant source of variance; this may be remedied by filtering out high frequency oscillations of contour. There is no significant difference in midnormal values and confidence limits for corresponding dimensions measured from orthogonal views. Furthermore, the anteroposterior and mediolateral dimensions of the left ventricle superimpose at each body size, consistent with circular cross section for normal subjects throughout growth and development. The data presented should comprise a useful set of reference standards for interpretation of cross-sectional echocardiograms.

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