AIMS Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging is an important tool in the assessment of paediatric cardiac disease. Reported reference values of ventricular volumes and masses in the paediatric population are based on small cohorts and several methodologic differences between studies exist. We sought to create steady-state free precession (SSFP) CMR reference values for biventricular volumes and mass by combining data of previously published studies and re-analysing these data in a standardized manner.
METHODS AND RESULTS A total of 141 healthy children (68 boys) from three European centres underwent cine-SSFP CMR imaging. Cardiac structures were manually contoured for end-diastolic and end-systolic phases in the short-axis orientation according to current standardized CMR post-processing guidelines. Volumes and masses were derived from these contours. Age-related reference curves were constructed using the lambda mu sigma method. Median age was 12.7 years (range 0.6-18.5). We report biventricular volumes and masses, unindexed and indexed for body surface area, stratified by age groups. In general, boys had approximately 15% higher biventricular volumes and masses compared with girls. Only in children aged <6 years old no gender differences could be observed. Left ventricle ejection fraction was slightly higher in boys in this study population (median 67% vs. 65%, P = 0.016). Age-related reference curves showed non-linear relations between age and cardiac parameters.
CONCLUSION We report volumetric SSFP CMR imaging reference values for children aged 0-18 years old in a relatively large multi-centre cohort. These references can be used in the follow-up of paediatric cardiac disease and for research purposes.