This test is based on the incompressibility of myocardium, which dictates that left ventricular wall volume remains constant throughout the cardiac cycle. The volumes occupied by the left ventricular cavity, by ventricular wall plus cavity, and hence by ventricular wall alone were estimated, both at end-systole and at end-diastole, from ecocardiographic measurements of cavity transverse dimension and wall thickness. Wall volumes were determined by assuming an ellipsoid shape (the major axis being predicted from aggression equations relating angiocardiographic and echocardiographic cavity dimensions) and also by the cube method. A discrepancy between systolic and diastolic wall volume estimates indicates either that the measurements of ventricular dimensions were unreliable or that the assumptions of ventricular geometry involved in the volume calculations were incorrect. Studies were made on 60 subjects. Using the ellipsoid formula, values for wall volume ranged from 66 to 719 ml; systolic and diastolic wall volumes correlated closely (r = 0-96, mean difference = 6-8 +/- 0-9 (SEM) %) supporting the reliability of the echocardiographic dimensions and estimates of cavity and wall volume. In the 12 patients with very large end-diastolic cavity transverse dimensions (6-5 to 8-6 cm) however, correlation was less good (r - 0-81, mean difference = 14-3 +/- 2-3 (SEM) 5). Using the cube method, which does not allow for the changing relation between minor and major cavity axes with increasing cavity size, wall volumes were greater (76 to 986 ml) but correlation was similar (r = 0-94, mean difference = 7-1 +/- 0-9 (SEM)%). Having established that it is possible to obtain close agreement between wall volumes determined at different points in the cardiac cycle, this test can be used to assess the reliability of echocardiographic left ventricular dimensions and volume estimates in individual subjects.