The pulmonary trunk and aortic root were measured on cross sectional echocardiograms in 173 normal subjects aged from one day to 15 years. Fifteen neonates were reexamined 3-6 days later. The great vessels were visualised in the parasternal long axis and short axis views. All measurements were made in end diastole and end systole by the leading edge method. The internal diameter (inner surface to inner surface) of the pulmonary trunk was also measured. The diameters of the great vessels correlated best with the square root of body surface area. Individual variability in cardiac growth gave a wide scatter of normal values. This was controlled for by calculating the ratio of the pulmonary trunk to aortic root for each subject. This ratio showed little individual variability and, except for the neonatal period, was remarkably constant throughout infancy and childhood (1.06 (0.06)). In the first 24 hours of life the ratio of the pulmonary trunk to the aortic root was significantly larger (1.29 (0.12)) but within one week it decreased to the "normal" ratio found in the older age groups. These normal data should be useful in assessing patients with congenital heart disease, particularly those in whom pulmonary blood flow is abnormal.
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