A method is described that permits compact permanent storage of left ventricular (LV) contours in a minicomputer system. The method employs a "box encoding" algorithm first proposed by Freeman (1) to obtain a nearly eightfold reduction in the amount of information needed to store a left ventricular contour. Using this system, a ventricular contour can be stored in 100 computer words or less. The method is easy to implement, fast, allows variable data compression, and accurately reproduces the LV contour. In addition, the encoded contour lends itself readily to further computer processing.