Deuterium and fluorine nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy have been employed for quantification of regional blood flow in concert with nonradiative, exogenous, freely diffusible tracers such as D2O and freon gas. Typically, the tracer residue washout was monitored by NMR over time following tracer administration by bolus injection or inhalation. The theory, including compartmental analysis, required to quantitatively derive volumetric tissue blood flow and perfusion is reviewed herein. Applications of NMR tissue blood flow measurement techniques to tumor, muscle, liver, and brain are presented with discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of NMR methods. © 1990 Academic Press, Inc.