Water imaging (hydrography) in the fetus: the value of a heavily T2-weighted sequence

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Abstract

Background

Since the development of fast imaging sequences, MR has proved to be a helpful tool in the evaluation of fetal pathology. Because of the high water content of fetal tissues and pathology, hydrography imaging (MR fetography) can provide additional diagnostic information.

Objective

To demonstrate the benefit of MR fetography in fetal imaging.

Materials and methods

From 2004 to 2005, 126 fetal MR examinations were performed for evaluation of an abnormality depicted on an antenatal sonogram. Single-shot fast spin-echo MR imaging and MR fetography were performed through the area of fetal pathology. The two studies were retrospectively compared.

Results

The primary diagnosis was not changed with the addition of MR fetography. New findings, particularly in the kidneys and spine, were identified in 9% of the patients. When fetal pathology was of high water content (80% patients), the MR fetography imaging increased diagnostic confidence. In 11% of the patients, those with cardiovascular or low water pathology, the MR fetography was not beneficial.

Conclusion

The mainstay of fetal imaging is currently the HASTE and SSFSE sequences. However, MR fetography is an excellent adjunct that highlights fetal pathology by reinforcing the diagnosis, identifying additional findings, and providing high-contrast high-resolution images that are helpful when counseling clinicians and patients.

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