BACKGROUND: Quantification of ventricular volume by steady state free precession (SSFP) cardiovascular magnetic resonance is accurate and reproducible. Normal values exist for adults, but are lacking for children.We sought to establish normal values for left and right ventricular volumes, mass and function in healthy children by using SSFP. METHODS AND RESULTS: Fifty children (27 females, 23 males) without cardiovascular disease were evaluated. Median age was 11 years (range 7 months - 18 years), weight 35 kg (range 7-77 kg), height 146 cm (range 66-181 cm). Thirty-six examinations were performed with breath holding, 14 in freely breathing sedated children.Ventricular volumes and mass were measured in the end systolic and end diastolic phase on SSFP cine images acquired in a short axis plane as a stack of 12 contiguous slices covering full length of both ventricles. Regression analysis showed an exponential relationship between body surface area (BSA) and ventricular volumes and mass (normal value = a*BSAb). Normative curves for males and females are presented in relation to BSA for the end-diastolic volume, end-systolic volume and mass of both ventricles. Intra- and interobserver variability of the measurements was within the limits of 2% and 7% respectively, except for right ventricular mass (10%). CONCLUSION: The exponential equation for calculation of normal values for each ventricular parameter and graphical display of normative curves for data acquired in healthy children by SSFP cardiovascular magnetic resonance are provided.