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This paper describes a quantitative assessment of respiratory motion of the heart and the construction of a model of respiratory motion. Three-dimensional magnetic resonance scans were acquired on eight normal volunteers and ten patients. The volunteers were imaged at multiple positions in the breathing cycle between full exhalation and full inhalation while holding their breath. The exhalation volume was segmented and used as a template to which the other volumes were registered using an intensity-based rigid registration algorithm followed by nonrigid registration. The patients were imaged at inhale and exhale only. The registration results were validated by visual assessment and consistency measurements indicating subvoxel registration accuracy. For all subjects, we assessed the nonrigid motion of the heart at the right coronary artery, right atrium, and left ventricle. We show that the rigid-body motion of the heart is primarily in the craniocaudal direction with smaller displacements in the right-left and anterior-posterior directions; this is in agreement with previous studies. Deformation was greatest for the free wall of the right atrium and the left ventricle; typical deformations were 3-4 mm with deformations of up to 7 mm observed in some subjects. Using the registration results, landmarks on the template surface were mapped to their correct positions through the breathing cycle. Principal component analysis produced a statistical model of the motion and deformation of the heart. We discuss how this model could be used to assist motion correction.