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CHOP Researchers: 3T Fetal MRI Imaging Improves Prenatal Diagnosis of Birth Defects

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia     (CHOP)

January 27, 2016

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment is a leader in fetal imaging, including the use of ultrafast fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a technique that was refined here at CHOP. Ongoing research efforts are focused on improving upon existing MRI technology to enhance the prenatal evaluation and diagnosis of patients facing a birth defect.

In a recent study conducted at CHOP, Teresa Victoria, MD, PhD, Ann Johnson, MD, and colleagues found that performing MRIs at 3 Tesla (T) versus 1.5T can produce higher-quality images. Using this higher magnet strength, their team was better able to depict fetal anatomic structures, such as the spine, bowel, liver and kidneys. Imaging at 3T has the potential to provide increased signal, faster scan times, and increased anatomic visualization.

“Improvements in imaging software and protocols allow optimal visualization and examination of fetal pathologic abnormalities,” writes Dr. Victoria, “thus better identifying fetal and maternal needs both prenatally and postnatally.”

MRI is routinely used in pregnant women. To date, there has been no indication that the use of clinical MR imaging during pregnancy has produced harmful effects. MRI in pregnancy is considered a standard of care by the American College of Radiology.

Dr. Victoria’s findings are published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

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