The accuracy and reliability of Barnhard's radiographic method of determining total lung capacity have been confirmed by several groups of investigators. Despite its simplicity and general reliability, it has several shortcomings, especially when used in large-scale epidemiological surveys. Of these, the most serious is related to film technique; thus, when the cardiac and diaphragmatic shadows are poorly defined, the appropriate measurements cannot be made accurately. A further drawback involves the time needed to measure the segments and to perform the necessary calculations.
We therefore set out to develop an abbreviated and simpler radiographic method for determining total lung capacity. This uses a step-wise multiple regression model which allows total lung capacity to be derived as follows: posteroanterior and lateral films are divided into the standard sections as described in the text, the width, depth, and height of sections 1 and 4 are measured in centimetres, finally the necessary derivations and substitutions are made and applied to the formula Ŷ = −1·41148 + (0·00479 X1) + (0·00097 X4), where Ŷ is the total lung capacity. In our hands this method has provided a simple, rapid, and acceptable method of determining total lung capacity.