MR autopsy in fetuses

Fetal Diagn Ther. 2002 Jan-Feb;17(1):58-64. doi: 10.1159/000048008.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether postmortem magnetic resonance imaging (MR autopsy) could serve as an alternative to necropsy of fetuses. The value of MR autopsy in the validation of the obstetric management and in risk counseling concerning future pregnancies is discussed.

Methods: 10 consecutive, malformed fetuses were examined by postmortem MRI within 24 h of delivery. Prenatal ultrasound (US) was performed in all fetuses. Complete necropsy served as gold standard.

Results: MR autopsy confirmed every US diagnosis responsible for termination. All MRI findings were confirmed by necropsy. In two fetuses, necropsy gave additional information relevant for risk counseling. Histologic examination corrected the diagnosis in one case.

Conclusions: MR autopsy provides valuable information previously only available from necropsy. In parents who refuse perinatal necropsy, the information obtained by MR autopsy can be used to validate obstetric management and to evaluate the risk for future pregnancies. Necropsy however remains the gold standard.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced
  • Abortion, Induced
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Autopsy / methods*
  • Congenital Abnormalities / diagnosis*
  • Congenital Abnormalities / pathology
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Fetus / anatomy & histology*
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Assessment
  • Warfarin / adverse effects


  • Anticoagulants
  • Warfarin