Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract A new method of measuring the size of the thymus in infants less than 1 year of age is presented. The width of the thymus was measured in a transverse image while the area of the largest lobe was assessed in a longitudinal image. The thymic index was then defined as the product of these two values. Intra-and interobserver variation analysis were performed in 23 infants. Each infant was scanned alternately by both of two radiologists, and later the same day the measurements were repeated. The mean differences between the first and second measurements (intraobserver variation) were −0.25 (2 SD 7.56) and −1.13 (2 SD 10.80), respectively, for the two observers. The mean difference between the first measurements of the two observers (interobserver variation) was 1.47 (2 SD 9.39). In a postmortem study of 12 infants the thymic index measured by sonography showed an acceptable correlation to the actual volume (c = 0.80) and weight (c = 0.87) of the thymus. In conclusion, our sonographic estimate of the volume of the thymus, the thymic index, in infants under 8 months of age seems to be easy, reliable and reproducible.
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