Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Age-related normal structural and functional ventricular values in cardiac function assessed by magnetic resonance

Michael Fiechter13, Tobias A Fuchs1, Catherine Gebhard1, Julia Stehli1, Bernd Klaeser1, Barbara E Stähli2, Robert Manka12, Costantina Manes2, Felix C Tanner23, Oliver Gaemperli12 and Philipp A Kaufmann13*

  • * Corresponding author: Philipp A Kaufmann

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Radiology, Cardiac Imaging, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

2 Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Center, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

3 Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP), University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Medical Imaging 2013, 13:6  doi:10.1186/1471-2342-13-6

Published: 7 February 2013



The heart is subject to structural and functional changes with advancing age. However, the magnitude of cardiac age-dependent transformation has not been conclusively elucidated.


This retrospective cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) study included 183 subjects with normal structural and functional ventricular values. End systolic volume (ESV), end diastolic volume (EDV), and ejection fraction (EF) were obtained from the left and the right ventricle in breath-hold cine CMR. Patients were classified into four age groups (20–29, 30–49, 50–69, and ≥70 years) and cardiac measurements were compared using Pearson’s rank correlation over the four different groups.


With advanced age a slight but significant decrease in ESV (r=−0.41 for both ventricles, P<0.001) and EDV (r=−0.39 for left ventricle, r=−0.35 for right ventricle, P<0.001) were observed associated with a significant increase in left (r=0.28, P<0.001) and right (r=0.27, P<0.01) ventricular EF reaching a maximal increase in EF of +8.4% (P<0.001) for the left and +6.1% (P<0.01) for the right ventricle in the oldest compared to the youngest patient group. Left ventricular myocardial mass significantly decreased over the four different age groups (P<0.05).


The aging process is associated with significant changes in left and right ventricular EF, ESV and EDV in subjects with no cardiac functional and structural abnormalities. These findings underline the importance of using age adapted values as standard of reference when evaluating CMR studies.

CMR; Age; LV-EF; RV-EF; Normal values