This reference book unites most of the data published in today's world literature dealing with normative parameters of cardiac structures and the great arteries explored by heart morphometry. The book aims to objectively summarize main achievements and problems that exist in this area.
When selecting materials to include in the reference book, we paid special attention to the following factors:
1) Sufficient sample size;
2) Precise selection of materials for the study that includes: homogeneity of groups according to age criterion; subdivision according to age; absence of disease history that might cause deviation of cardiac structure dimensions from their normal values;
3) Description of sample preparation (fixed or non-fixed samples) and the method of morphometry;
4) Statistical or mathematical analysis of data.
Unfortunately, all of these criteria were met in a very limited number of works. As a result, we have had to include studies where the description of the method of measurement was absent or the data were presented both as a mean and a range of values. We realize that this imposes certain limitations upon use of these normative data in research studies. However, the data can be used for the assessment of obtained results.
For the sake of convenience, the material is presented with respect to age (from fetus to adult) and gender. We also considered it appropriate to provide a separate analysis of measurements in fixed and non-fixed preparations, because formalin fixation affects the form and dimensions of intracardiac structures (Eckner FAO et al., 1969; Tei C et al., 1982; Schenk KE, Heinze G, 1985).
This book is the first completed portion of our research on the quantitative anatomy of the normal heart. The next section will be devoted to the normative parameters of the heart and cardiac structures received by intravital methods of examination.