To evaluate in-vivo placental perfusion fraction, estimated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as a marker of placental function.Methods
A study population of 35 pregnant women, of whom 13 had pre-eclampsia (PE), were examined at 22–40 weeks' gestation. Within a 24-h period, each woman underwent an MRI diffusion-weighted sequence (from which we calculated the placental perfusion fraction), venous blood sampling and an ultrasound examination including estimation of fetal weight, amniotic fluid index and Doppler velocity measurements. The perfusion fractions in pregnancies with and without fetal growth restriction were compared and correlations between the perfusion fraction and ultrasound estimates and plasma markers were estimated using linear regression. The associations between the placental perfusion fraction and ultrasound estimates were modified by the presence of PE (P < 0.05) and therefore we included an interaction term between PE and covariates in the models.Results
The median placental perfusion fractions in pregnancies with and without fetal growth restriction were 21% and 32%, respectively (P = 0.005). The correlations between placental perfusion fraction and ultrasound estimates and plasma markers were highly significant (P = 0.002 and P = 0.0001, respectively). The highest coefficient of determination (R2 = 0.56) for placental perfusion fraction was found for a model that included pulsatility index in the ductus venosus, plasma level of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1, estimated fetal weight and presence of PE.Conclusion
The placental perfusion fraction has the potential to contribute to the clinical assessment of cases with placental insufficiency. © 2015 Authors. Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.