The intra-thoracic blood volume (ITBV) is a cardiovascular parameter related to the cardiac preload and left ventricular function. Its assessment is, therefore, important for diagnosis and follow-up of several cardiovascular dysfunctions. Nowadays, the ITBV can be accurately measured only by invasive indicator dilution techniques, which require a double catheterization of the patient. In this study, a novel technique is presented for ITBV assessment by dynamic magnetic resonance imaging after intravenous injection of a small bolus of gadolinium chelate. The dose was chosen on the basis of in vitro calibration. The bolus first pass is detected from a simultaneous dynamic image series of the right and left ventricles. Two indicator dilution curves are derived and used to inspect the transpulmonary dilution system. Various mathematical models for the interpretation of the measured indicator dilution curves are compared. The ITBV is assessed as the product of the transpulmonary mean transit time of the indicator and the cardiac output, obtained by phase contrast magnetic resonance angiography. In vitro measurements showed a correlation coefficient larger than 0.99 and preliminary tests with volunteers proved the feasibility of the method, opening new possibilities for noninvasive quantitative cardiovascular diagnostics.