Fetal or Intrauterine MRI imaging

Fetal Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) was described in the 1990s but was not used much due to image degradation related to fetal motion and relatively longer acquisition times. Technology has evolved and the introduction of ultrafast techniques that minimize fetal movement artefacts and improved visualization helped bring fetal MRI back to the forefront .

Ultrasound remains the primary imaging mode with high resolution images, real time imaging, and relatively low cost some of the advantages. Fetal MRI is generally indicated when fetal ultrasound is suspicious or the sonographic detection of fetal anomalies requires further evaluation. Thus, Fetal MRI can be considered as an additional diagnostic test after screening with ultrasound.

Ultrasound is an operator skill dependant and dynamic modality and is subject to a significant quality variation. MRI quality can vary as well depending on motion artefacts and imaging techniques including the accuracy of imaging plane settings that can alter visibility of pathoanatomical structures.

As part of our endeavour to share clinically relevant radiology imaging articles, we are sharing an article by Griffiths PD, Bradburn M, Campbell MJ, Cooper CL, Graham D, Jarvis D et al published in The Lancet 2017.

Besides the clinical implications, there are a few aspects that I felt were good learning points.

1. The Instituitonal Collaborations that this study had

2. The description of what is already known and the gaps this study aimed to fill

3. The description of the processes, outcome measures and the way the results have been interpreted

4. Directions for future studies

We aim to springboard from this article to expand into diagnostic and screening tests, to explore the jargon associated with diagnostic test effectiveness and how to translate those into clinical practice, in subsequent articles.

Griffiths PD et al article on MRI, Lancet 2017; 389: 538-46