MRI in fetal diagnosis

Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research
Record ID 32000000853
Authors' objectives: This report aims to summarise the available evidence on magnetic resonance imaging in fetal diagnosis.
Authors' recomendations: Fast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques have been used at UCSF to obtain high-quality diagnostic images of the fetus, without sedation or anesthesia. This was not possible with earlier MRI methods, as fetal motion degraded the images. With the present approach, the mother is asked to hold her breath and a set of images is obtained during each breath-hold. A full exam, taking pictures in several planes, takes half an hour to an hour. MRI is used in selected cases in which fetal abnormalities are suspected following ultrasound. In a series of 45 pregnant women who received ultrasound and were referred for MRI, MRI provided added information to ultrasound in nearly half and changed the management of the pregnancy in six cases. MRI findings agreed with ultrasound in 36 cases (80%), giving additional information in 12 of these. MRI provided information that was unclear on ultrasound in two cases and correctly clarified results when there was a discrepancy in the ultrasound reading in four. In three cases, MRI and ultrasound readings did not agree: with follow-up, MRI proved to be correct in two of these. Subsequently, 19 women delivered without further interventions (four of the babies died after birth); intrauterine surgery was successfully performed on six fetuses; six pregnancies were terminated; and the outcome was unknown in 14 cases. In two cases where MRI led to a change in case management, the treatment saved the children's lives.
Authors' methods: Overview
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2000
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: Canada
MeSH Terms
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
Organisation Name: Institute of Health Economics
Contact Address: 1200, 10405 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T5J 3N4. Tel: +1 780 448 4881; Fax: +1 780 448 0018;
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Copyright: Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR)
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