Second trimester fetal magnetic resonance imaging improves diagnosis of non-central nervous system anomalies

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2011 Apr;90(4):380-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0412.2011.01071.x. Epub 2011 Mar 4.


Objective: To evaluate the additional information of second trimester magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) compared with ultrasound in fetuses with identified or suspected non-CNS anomalies and to study the clinical impact of the MRI information on pregnancy management.

Design: Prospective study during 2003-2007. The fetal MRI examination was planned to be performed within 3 days after the ultrasound.

Setting: Uppsala University hospital.

Sample: Sixty-three women in whom the second trimester ultrasound identified or raised suspicion of fetal anomalies were included.

Methods: Ultrasound was compared to MRI in relation to the final diagnosis, which was based on the assessment of all available data, including postpartum clinical follow-up and autopsy results.

Main outcome measures: Evaluation of the additional information gained from MRI and the consequences it had on pregnancy management.

Results: The mean interval between ultrasound and MRI was 2.6 days (range 0-15 days). In 42 (67%) women MRI was performed within 3 days. All MRI examinations were assessable. In 43 (68%) fetuses MRI provided no additional information, in 17 (27%) MRI added information without changing the management and in three (5%) MRI provided additional information which changed the management. All these three cases had oligohydramnios. In all six cases of diaphragmatic hernia MRI provided additional information.

Conclusions: Fetal MRI of non-CNS anomalies in the second trimester seems to be a valuable adjunct to ultrasound diagnosis of non-CNS anomalies, especially in cases of oligohydramnios and diaphragmatic hernia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fetus / abnormalities*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / standards
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / standards
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / standards
  • Young Adult