MRI Can Better Diagnose Fetal Brain Abnormalities in-Utero

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof Paul D Griffiths, FRCR and

Cara Mooney, Study Manager: MERIDIAN
Clinical Trials Research Unit
The University of Sheffield 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Around three in every 1000 pregnancies is complicated by a fetal abnormality. In the UK Ultrasonography (USS) has, for many years, been the mainstay of antenatal screening and detailed anomaly scanning to detect such abnormalities.  However previous studies have suggested that in utero Magnetic Resonance (iuMR) imaging may be a useful adjunct to USS for detecting these brain abnormalities in the developing fetus.

This study was designed to test the diagnostic accuracy and clinical impact of introducing fetal MR in to the diagnostic pathway.

Our results show that iuMR has an overall diagnostic accuracy of 93% compared to ultrasound at 68%, this is an increase in diagnostic accuracy of 25%. When divided into gestational age group the improvement in diagnostic accuracy ranged from 23% in the 18-23 week group, and 29% in the 24 week and over group.

IuMR provided additional diagnostic information in 49% of cases, changed prognostic information in at least 20% and the contribution to clinical management was felt to be at least ‘significant’ in 35% of cases. IuMR also had high patient acceptability with at least 95% of women stating that they would have an iuMR if a future pregnancy were complicated by a fetal brain abnormality.

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