Echo planar imaging (an extremely fast method of magnetic resonance imaging) was used to measure lung volume in a group of nine infants, all of whom had had respiratory problems. The mean echo planar imaging estimate of total lung volume was 44 +/- 9 ml/kg. In each case the right lung was larger than the left (ratio 52.8:47.2%). The mean thoracic gas volume was 36 +/- 8 ml/kg. The entire sequence of images of the thorax (about 400) takes five minutes to complete, infants require no sedation, and there are no side effects.
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